Symbol of the development of the Saudi Championship, the Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo continues his mission as a luxury ambassador leading Al-Nassr on a tour of Japan.
“We know that the people are very passionate about football in Japan, we are here to contribute to the show,” said CR7 at a press conference this Monday in Osaka, where his team will play a friendly with Paris Saint Germain this Tuesday.
— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) July 24, 2023
“We have two big games to play”, added the Al-Nassr striker, who on Thursday will play against Inter Milan in the same Japanese city.
Smiling and speaking in English during the interview, Cristiano answered the children invited to ask the players questions.
The role of ambassador went well for the Portuguese, who has attracted attention to Saudi football since his arrival at Al-Nassr, in January.
Following in his footsteps, other European football stars have signed with clubs in the country in the current transfer window, such as Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kanté (Al-Ittihad), Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovc-Savic (Al-Hilal), Édouard Mendy (Al-Ahli), and Seko Fofana and Marcelo Brozovic, who joined CR7 at Al-Nassr.
“I’m happy here (at Al-Nassr), I want to stay here and I’ll stay here,” Cristiano said in an interview with the Saudi League.
“I think if they keep doing the job they want to do, the Saudi Championship could be one of the top five in the world in five years,” he promised.
Since his arrival, Al-Nassr’s Twitter account has grown from 800,000 followers to 4 million. On Instagram, the jump went from 2 million to over 14 million.
Thanks to the popularity of Portuguese, women are now seen in the stands at games in Saudi Arabia, which until a few years ago prohibited female presence in stadiums.
Sportingly, the success is not complete, as Al-Nassr failed to repeat the title of the Saudi Championship, which ended with Al-Ittihad. Cristiano scored 14 goals in 16 games.
For next season, the Portuguese star and his team have “many objectives”.
“For sure I would like to win some trophies this year,” smiled Cristiano.
Two days after the friendly against Inter, Al-Nassr starts the season in the Arab Cup of Champion Clubs against also Saudi Al-Shabab.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo continues to take care of his image. He captivated the public when a journalist recalled one of his trips to Japan in 2014 when he was a Real Madrid player.
On that occasion, a 12-year-old Japanese player named Ryoto Iwaoka asked a question in Portuguese. Several people present in the press room laughed at the boy’s difficulty with the language and CR7 reproached: “Don’t laugh at your effort”.
In 2021, Iwaoka was named the best player in Japan’s top under-18 tournament.
“I’m very happy that this boy got what he wanted. As I always say: believe in your dreams, because talent is not enough, you have to work”, said the Portuguese.
“I’m very happy because my words had an impact and I wish many boys success,” he concludes.
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