We answer important questions about Cristiano.

Cristiano Ronaldo's career in Saudi Arabia could have gotten off to a better start. The Portuguese scored a double in a freight train against PSG, but in the first two official matches, he did not score with practical actions.

Al Nassr is not very worried about this - the club and all local football have already benefited from the fact that such an eminent footballer has come to Saudi Arabia. "This is an opportunity to look at one of the best players in the history of football. This is a historic moment for our club, Saudi Arabia, and the entire region," says one Al Nassr staff member.

How will Cristiano train in specific climatic conditions? How does he live in Riyadh? Will it bring other superstars along? The Athletic tried to figure it out, and we chose the most interesting from the material.
enter image description here
Because of the heat in Saudi Arabia, there is little training, and local players do not have a high football culture

Last July, former Espanyol coach Vicente Moreno took charge of Al Shebab (3rd in the Saudi league). What struck Vicente the most was the heat.

"I am curious to see how Ronaldo will adapt. He will have to train in the afternoon because in the summer it is impossible to do this in the morning - there is a 50-degree heat. At first glance, this is not so important, but if Ronaldo has lived in one mode for many years, it will not be easy to reshape it," says Moreno.

Due to the extremely high temperatures, Saudi clubs usually have up to one training session daily. Sergio Piernas, who in 2021 was assistant head coach of Saudi Arabia's youth team, says it's making it challenging to build a coaching team.

"Training starts in the afternoon - around 15:00. During the heating season, teams come out to train at 18:00 or 19:00. This greatly affects the training dynamics - the clubs do not have time to hone the team mechanisms to automatism.
enter image description here
The infrastructure is reasonable, but only some local players understand that it is not only about training. They must understand that extra work, sleep, recovery, and nutrition are as crucial as mandatory workouts. In addition, there is also a language barrier – most of the local players do not speak English," says Piernas.

"Here, Cristiano will have to live in a bubble." Immerse yourself in the life of Ronaldo

Moreno says Ronaldo is likely to live in one of Riyadh's protected areas, where many foreigners live.
enter image description here
"There are carefully guarded mini-towns in Riyadh. There are many foreigners living there who lead a western way of life. The city is huge - about three times the size of Madrid. In terms of its layout, it is very different from European cities," says Vicente.

Before matches, Al Nassr players meet at one of the five-star hotels in the diplomatic district of Riyadh. In the first weeks after his arrival, Ronaldo lived in a luxurious hotel, but the club plans to give him a big new home.

A pretty fantastic fact: one day, the city authorities closed one of the shopping centers so that the Portuguese could safely go shopping with his family. Piernas is not surprised: "Here, Cristiano will have to live in a bubble."

What about the championship level?

Based on the data of one of the scouting agencies, the Athletic put Al-Nasr on the same level as Sunderland and Luton, who play in the Championship. The Saudi Elite Football Championship ranks 58th in the world regarding football quality, right between the second and third English divisions.

But Moreno says: "The level here is higher than it is commonly thought," Cristiano spoke about this when he arrived. Saudi Arabia is the only team to have beaten future world champions."

"They did not advance from the group, but in all games, they fought to the end and showed what they could. The level is good. Saudi Arabia's two biggest clubs, Al-Hilal and Al-Nasr, are like Real Madrid and Barcelona. Both clubs have sent 18 out of 26 players to the 2022 World Cup," adds Piernas.

Should we expect other superstars in Al Nassr?

Recently, rumors have been actively associated with Eden Hazard's Al Nassr. When Real Madrid was in Saudi Arabia, head coach Rudi Garcia presented the Belgian with an Al Nasr shirt, which fans took as a sign of a transfer. But Al Nassr has no plans to sign Eden, and Hazard still needs to be ripe for the transition.
enter image description here
Some fans have decided that Al Nassr wants to build a super team around Ronaldo. However, The Athletic's sources at the club have made it clear that such a development is improbable.

One source said: "Cristiano was an exceptional player, but the club doesn't want Al-Nasr to become an exhibition team. The club has money, but fools do not run it. Cristiano's main mission is to develop the club."

So far, Ronaldo is doing his job very well - the Portuguese made it so that the whole world is watching Al Nassr.