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Cristiano Ronaldo, the Saudi football ambassador in Japan

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Saudi football ambassador in Japan

Emblem of the spectacular development of the Saudi championship, the star Cristiano Ronaldo continues his mission as a luxury ambassador leading his team Al Nassr on a friendly tour in Japanfacing on Tuesday in Osaka the Paris Saint Germain.

“We know that people are very passionate about football in Japan, we are here to contribute to the show,” assured ‘CR7’.

“We have two big games to play”the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who will also face Inter Milan on Thursday, in the same Japanese city, rejoices.

Smiling, speaking in English during the press conference to introduce the game on Sunday at the Nikko hotel in Osaka, the Portuguese played his ambassadorial role well, responding kindly to children invited to ask the players questions.

The ambassador suit suits him wonderfully, since since his spectacular arrival in January, the beacon of the Saudi championship guarantees its promotion.

Following in his wake, other big names arrived this summer such as Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kanté at Al-Ittihad, Kalidou Koulibaly and Sergej Milinkovc-Savic at Al-Hilal, Édouard Mendy at Al-Ahli and even Seko Fofana and Marcelo Brozovic accompanying the Portuguese at Al-Nassr.

Again headline with Portugal

“I am happy here, I want to continue here and I will continue here”, said Ronaldo in an interview to the Saudi League.

“I think if they continue to do the job they want to do here, the Saudi championship can be one of the top five in the world in five years.”promised.

Since his arrival, the Al-Nassr’s Twitter account has grown from 800,000 followers to 4 million and Instagram from 2 million to more than 14.

Thanks in particular to their popularity, women are now seen in the audience at matches, although their entry into stadiums was prohibited a few years ago.

Sportingly, the success is not complete, as Al-Nassr failed to reconquer the title of champion, which Al-Ittihad took. CR7 scored 14 goals in 16 games, including a ‘poker’ during their third match against Al-Wehdah.

But he has started again in the national team since the arrival of the Spanish Roberto Martínez to the bench, and continues to increase his records.

In his 200th cap as an international, he scored the winning goal against Iceland (1-0) during Euro 2024 qualifying, his 123rd goal for Portugal.

“Win some trophies”

“I will never give up coming here (with the Portugal team), because it is always a dream. Reaching 200 international matches is not for everyone, that shows the love I have for my country and our team.”he said from Reykjavik.

Looking ahead to the next season, Ronaldo and his team have “lots of targets. Of course I would like to win some trophies this year.”he smiled.

Two days after the friendly against Inter, Al-Nassr starts its season in the Arab Cup of the champion clubs against its Saudi neighbor Al-Shabab.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo continues to take care of his image. He won over the audience when a Japanese journalist reminded him of an anecdote from one of his previous tours in the country (this is his fifth visit), in 2014 when he was a Real Madrid player.

A young Japanese soccer player named Ryoto Iwaoka asked him a question in Portuguese. The room laughed and the star recriminated it: “Don’t laugh at their effort”he said accordingly.

That young man has just been chosen as the best player in the most prestigious under-18 tournament in Japan and he remembered that CR7 anecdote, which encouraged him.

“I am very happy that this boy has achieved what he wanted, as I always say: believe in your dreams because talent is not enough, you have to work”said CR7.

“I am very happy that my words had an impact on his boy and I wish many children to achieve success”he concluded.

Source: AFP

Source: Gestion

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