• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Iranian fans troop out to see Ronaldo ahead of Asian Cup

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr on Monday arrived at the Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, Iran for Tuesday’s Asian Champions League.

Reuters reported that Al-Nassr captain Ronaldo received a warm reception upon arrival of the team in Iran on Monday, in the first visit of a Saudi team to Iran since 2016.

Al-Nassr face Iranian side Persepolis in Group E of the group stage of the Asian Champions League later tonight, while Qatari side Al-Duhail play Istiklol Dushanbe of Tajikistan.

The streets were crowded with fans who raised welcome banners and pictures of Ronaldo upon the arrival of the Saudi Arabian team in Iran after the restoration of relations between the two countries.

Read also: Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr top Google trends with 10K+ searches

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced that matches between Saudi and Iranian teams would be held on a home-and-away basis after the agreement of the two local federations.

Matches had been played on neutral territory since 2016 because of strained diplomatic ties between both countries, which has stopped Saudi nationals from traveling to Iran.

Supporters invaded the team’s hotel, despite attempts by security personnel to prevent them.

The fans chanted Ronaldo’s name, with children and women carrying pictures of the Portugal captain.

Al-Nassr posted several photos of Ronaldo receiving a luxurious hand-made Iranian carpet from Persepolis supporters.

“Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo, welcome to Iran. A token of appreciation, an original hand-woven piece of art made by Iranian artists to commemorate your presence in Iran, on behalf of Persepolis’s fans,” the fans wrote.

The Saudi Pro League has become an attractive destination for Europe-based players since Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr last January.