Cristiano Ronaldo three goals from Saudi history as Al Nassr star looks to cap off 2023 with another impressive record
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Cristiano Ronaldo three goals from Saudi history as Al Nassr star looks to cap off 2023 with another impressive record

Dec 31, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo’s final game of 2023 could see him make history in his first year in Saudi Arabia.

The Al Nassr forward only played his first Saudi Pro League game on January 22, but could now take the league’s record for most goals in a calendar year.

Ronaldo is close to even more history

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Ronaldo is close to even more historyCredit: Getty

The 38-year-old announced he was stepping away from elite level football last New Year when his poor relationship with Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag saw the pair come to an unhappy divorce.

That came after a stellar return in 2021/22, with Ronaldo keen to prove he still has it in the Middle East after falling out of favour at Old Trafford.

He’s done exactly that, taking the league by storm as their marquee player, triggering an influx of summer moves for a number of elite European talents.

Winning his first trophy outside of Europe with the Arab Champions Cup, Ronaldo heads into his final game of 2023 with a record of 53 goals in 58 games for club and country.

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That’s already more than Harry Kane [52], Kylian Mbappe [52] and Erling Haaland [50], and now he needs a hat-trick against Al Taawon in his final game of the year to make history.

Currently on 33 goals in 33 games in the Saudi Pro League, a final hat-trick of 2023 would see Ronaldo overtake Abderrazak Hamdallah’s record of 35 scored in one calendar year, also for Al Nassr.

And there’s every chance Ronaldo could do it, too, having scored two in his last outing against fellow Public Investment Fund-owned Al Ittihad.

That match showed just how well Ronaldo has taken to Saudi football, with his old teammate Karim Benzema showing exactly how it isn’t done.

Ronaldo has taken the Saudi Pro League by storm since his move to the Middle East

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Ronaldo has taken the Saudi Pro League by storm since his move to the Middle EastCredit: Getty
Benzema's move to Saudi Arabia has not been so successful

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Benzema’s move to Saudi Arabia has not been so successfulCredit: Getty

The Frenchman left Real Madrid for the SPL in the summer, and has so far attracted plenty of criticism for his poor performances for the reigning champions.

Benzema conceded a penalty in the 5-2 headline defeat, and went on to deactivate all of his social media accounts post-match as the pressure piled on.

Footage shows Cristiano Ronaldo shushing supporters chanting Lionel Messi’s name in bad-tempered cup tie in Saudi Arabia


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