FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Al Nassr introduces new signing Cristiano Ronaldo – Mrsool Park, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – January 3, 2023. Al Nassr’s new signing Cristiano Ronaldo during his presentation REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
Jan 9 (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo will serve out his suspension before making his league debut for his new club, Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, but could play Paris Saint Germain in a friendly this month, coach Rudi Garcia has said.
Ronaldo missed the first of two domestic matches with Al Nassr on Friday after being banned by the English Football Association (FA) for throwing away a phone held by a fan after Manchester United’s defeat by Everton in April .
Garcia confirmed that the 37-year-old striker will also miss the league game against Al Shabab and will make his debut against Ettifaq on January 22, unless he plays Lionel Messi’s PSG in a team made up of players from Al Nassr and the Al Hilal in Riyadh on January 19.
“It won’t be (his debut) in the Al Nassr shirt. It will be a mix between Al Hilal and Al Nassr,” Garcia was quoted as saying by L’Equipe.
“As the coach of Al Nassr, I can’t be happy with this game. To improve, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, yes that’s a good thing. But we have a championship game three days later.”
“In terms of the calendar, it could have been thought better. But it’s not that bad… We are leaders, we are happy. It is a difficult championship to win, but we intend to do it.”
Garcia said Ronaldo’s arrival in Saudi Arabia was similar to Pele’s move to the New York Cosmos, and put a spotlight on the little-known Saudi club, which has amassed more than 10 million new Instagram followers since its inception. signing last month.
The former Lille and Olympique Lyonnais manager said he hopes Ronaldo will rediscover the joy of playing football after a tumultuous two-month period during which his contract with United was terminated and Portugal lost in the World Cup quarter-finals.
“In recent months, between Manchester United, the national team and also at a private level, there have been no easy moments,” Garcia said.
“If he finds the joy of playing again, that will be a good goal to hit.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)
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