Football

Cristiano Ronaldo reunites with Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo reunites with Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia
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Real Madrid have been preparing for their Spanish Supercopa final with Barcelona at Al Nassr’s training ground base in Riyadh — and that was too good an opportunity to miss for Cristiano Ronaldo, who paid his former teammates a visit to wish them luck ahead of Sunday’s Clasico.

Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al Nassr player earlier this month and is currently waiting to make his debut, which is expected to come in a friendly against Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain next Thursday.

In the meantime, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is staying with his family at Riyadh’s Four Seasons Hotel, and took the time to stop by Madrid’s training session on Friday.

Ronaldo — who spent nine seasons at Madrid, becoming the club’s all-time top scorer — first had a chat with manager Carlo Ancelotti, who he played for during the Italian’s first spell in charge from 2013 to 2015, winning the 2014 Champions League .

« Is the pitch OK? » Ronaldo asked Ancelotti, before discussing Madrid and Barca’s penalty shootout wins over Valencia and Real Betis in the semifinals.

There was a hug for club legend and ambassador Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo spent some time watching the team train, before heading to the pitchside gym where he posed for photos with Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Eder Militao.

Ronaldo left Madrid just two days before Vinicius Junior officially signed in the summer of 2018, with Rodrygo and Militao arriving a year later, so the trio never actually shared a dressing room with him.

The 37-year-old trained alone at Madrid’s Valdebebas training ground last month as he prepared for his move to Saudi Arabia, but didn’t coincide with the first team.

That left Rodrygo, 22, joking that he was shaking with nerves at the prospect of meeting a player he has repeatedly named as one of his childhood idols.

There was a message from Ronaldo for Madrid’s fans, too. « Good luck to our Madrid in Sunday’s final, obviously, » he said. « It’s always nice to see your teammates, at a club where you made history. It’s good to see your friends. »

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