Just a day after his arch-rival Lionel Messi won the record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or in Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, France, Cristiano Ronaldo was given loud and constant Messi chants during Al-Nassr’s following domestic cup game as fans from the opposing team taunted him throughout the match. The Portugal national team captain‘s side faced Al-Ettifaq, managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard and captained by ex-Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson, in the Round of 16 of the King Cup of Champions, and his team managed to defeat their opponents thanks to another former Liverpool star Sadio Mané’s goal with 13 minutes left on the clock in the extra time.
Ronaldo Shushed Messi Chants by Al-Ettifaq’s Fans
The Al-Ettifaq fans made their trip to the King Saud University Stadium when their team faced Al-Nassr at the latter’s home, and they used whatever they could to affect Ronaldo’s performance in the match. These spectators capitalised on La Pulga’s win at the 2023 Ballon d’Or and wasted no time to give deafening Messi chants to the 38-year-old Al-Nassr skipper during a throw-in. Ronaldo was all smiles when the immature Messi chants happened, and left the throw-in for his teammate, before giving a shush to the Al-Ettifaq fans’ Messi chants with his finger to the lips and a few calm-down gestures.
If anything, Ronaldo is no stranger to such Messi chants. During his nine years with Spanish La Liga giants Real Madrid, fans would try to get into his head with Messi chants, since the Argentine has been in Barcelona, Los Blancos’s rivals during his youth and large part of his senior career. Apart from receiving Messi chants during domestic league and cup games especially when he was in Spain, the five-time Ballon d’Or has also been given the same ill treatment when he was leading the Os Navegadores in countless competitive matches and friendlies. Instead of provoked him, such Messi chants usually offered him an unlikely source of motivation in the game that he was playing.
Ronaldo’s arch-nemesis Messi won his eighth Ballon d’Or last night in France, making the latter to have three more than the former in this prestigious honour. But as soon as the result was out, many fans and pundits have taken to the internet to raise questions as to whether the Argentine FIFA World Cup-winning captain deserve to win this year, especially over a continental treble winning forward with 52 goals and nine assists in 53 matches in all competitions for Manchester City like Erling Haaland. Read here for the full story of the 2023 Ballon d’Or award ceremony.
Al-Ettifaq fans started a “Messi, Messi” chant and this was Cristiano Ronaldo’s reaction.pic.twitter.com/tlCNiWLOje
— Roy Nemer (@RoyNemer) October 31, 2023
Mane Won the Game for 10-Man Al-Nassr Against 10-Man Al-Ettifaq
Both sets of teams have a total of four former Liverpool players, but what stole the show apart from Messi chants towards Ronaldo by the Al-Ettifaq fans were a couple of red cards that happened in the match. The first send off came when Talisca shoved an opponent in the stoppage time of the first half. The Brazilian was initially given a yellow, before a VAR check reversed the referee’s decision to a red, and the move did not sit well with Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr, having a goal disallowed before the straight red and the 38-year-old skipper was also seen to seek for a referee substitution out of his frustration.
The score remained 0-0 for much of the game despite Al-Nassr playing with one less man, but their fortune soon turned for the better as Steven Gerrard’s men were also reduced to 10 in the closing stages of the normal playing time, after 29-year-old midfielder Ali Hazazi was sent off with a tackle on Otávio. This Round of 16 fixture of the King Cup of Champions was extended for 30 minutes plus added time in the extra time.
Since both teams were playing with the equal number of players in the extra time, Al-Nassr finally got the breakthrough they desperately deserved in the 107th minute. Mané received a delivery that went pass almost the entire Al-Ettifaq, before slotting home the only goal of the match with ease. The Senegalese striker was seen celebrating with his strike partner Ronaldo by shushing the Al-Ettifaq fans for their Messi chants earlier in the game, and his goal sent Al-Nassr to the Quarterfinal of the King Cup of Champions.
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14 Wins in 15 Previous Matches for Al-Nassr
The 1-0 win against Al-Ettifaq was the 14th time Al-Nassr has won in their previous 15 matches in all competitions, and they have been invincible since their back-to-back 2-0 losses against last night’s opponents and Al-Taawoun in the Saudi Pro League last August, scoring a staggering total of 49 goals and conceding 17 during the 15-game unbeaten streak in all tournaments.
Ronaldo’s side will be joined by Karim Benzema’s Al-Ittihad, Neymar’s Al-Hilal, Abha Club, Al-Taawoun, Al-Shabab, Al-Faisaly and Al-Khaleej in the last 8 of the King Cup of Champions. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner will next lead his team to host Al-Khaleej at home for Matchday 12 of the 2023/2024 Saudi Pro League Season, with hopes that the second-placed Al-Nassr can close the gap on leaders Al-Hilal via a good performance.
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