Ronaldo sits with injury as Saudi season ends
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first season in Saudi Arabia came to an end on Wednesday, although the star forward was absent as Al-Nassr beat Al-Fateh 3-0 to finish in second place in the league.
Ronaldo, who signed for the Riyadh club in December before scoring 14 goals in 16 league games, picked up a muscle injury four days earlier and was rested ahead of Portugal’s European Championship qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iceland in June.
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In the 38-year-old Ronaldo’s absence, Anderson Talisca took center stage to score twice. He also assisted Mohammed Marwan for a third.
Al-Ittihad, who had already secured the league championship in the penultimate round, celebrated a first title since 2009 with a 2-0 win against Al-Tai.
Abderazzak Hamdallah of Morocco opened the scoring with a second-half penalty that also secured the golden boot with his 21st goal of the season. Former Leeds United and Wolverhampton winger Helder Costa added the second in injury time.
It’s the first league title won by coach Nuno Santo, just 18 months after the Portuguese tactician was dismissed by Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League.
Al-Hilal, champions last season, finished in third spot with a 3-2 win over Al-Raed .
The league will expand from 16 to 18 teams next season.