Al-Nassr’s manager Rudi Garcia blames Ronaldo for defeat to Al-Ittihad

Al-Nassr head coach Rudi Garcia has partially laid the blame for his team’s Saudi Super Cup semi-final defeat on Cristiano Ronaldo.

Garcia’s league leaders were dumped out of the competition by Al-Ittihad on Thursday, with new signing and captain Ronaldo failing to score once again after his goalless debut appearance last Sunday.

The 37-year-old was similarly quiet on his second game and missed a chance to score in the first half which Garcia suggested would’ve swung the match in Al-Nassr’s favour.

“One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano’s missed opportunity in the first half,” the French boss told reporters after the 3-1 loss, with Al-Ittihad having taken the lead after just 15 minutes.

The result leaves Ronaldo and co with one less chance for silverware this campaign, although they do have another competition to compete in come March. Al-Nassr will face Abha in the King’s Cup and are hoping to fare better than on Thursday.

“I congratulate Al-Ittihad. They presented a much better first half than us, and we played a good second half, but unfortunately we were not able to adjust the result,” Garcia, whose team got a goal back in the second half through Anderson Talisca, went on to admit. “It’s true that we regret losing the Super Cup, but we are still the first in the league.”

What’s more concerning for the manager now is that Ronaldo limped off with an injury at full-time after being on the end of strong tackle from Al-Ittihad star Hamdan Al-Shamrani late in the game.

The Portugal international appeared to roll his right ankle in the forceful challenge and hobbled off after the final whistle.

Meanwhile, one of Ronaldo’s rivals is backing him to start getting the goals in the Saudi Pro League.

“Ronaldo is a legend. He is the best, for me, is the GOAT,” ex-United striker Odion Ighalo, who now plays for title chasers Al-Hilal, told Oma Sports TV “I have too much respect for him, admiration for him.”

Ighalo, who partnered Ronaldo during the All-Star friendly game against Paris Saint-Germain last Thursday, then went on to express his desire to share the stage with him.

“He is going to play for his own team and he will score goals and me, I am going to play for my own team and I will score goals,” the Nigerian added.

“So we will see how it goes. I wish him all the best in Al-Nassr, then I will do my job for Al-Hilal and we will see at the end of the season.”

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