Why Cristiano Ronaldo not playing today for Al Nassr?

Cristiano Ronaldo Al Nassr

Al Nassr fans will certainly notice the absence of their team’s biggest star in the AFC Champions League road game against Istiklol in early December.

The 38-year-old has had to manage his minutes this season and while he remains a mammoth figure for the Saudi club, he has to pick his place.

Today’s road game in the continental competition presented a great opportunity to see Ronaldo recover from his recent knock and prepare for a series of very important games to come.

Why Cristiano Ronaldo is not playing vs Istiklol

Cristiano Ronaldo has a neck injury that ruled him out of the 0-0 draw with Persepolis in the AFC Champions League group stage on November 27.

While the injury didn’t stop Ronaldo from starting and playing the full 90 minutes in a damaging 3-0 defeat to Al Hilal on December 1, it saw him take to the pitch with a black coaching tape on the left side of his neck, proving that the knock is still having a bit of an effect on him .

With Al Nassr already confirming their place in the AFC Champions League group, Ronaldo was rested on his previous trip to Qatari club Al Duhail on November 7, which Al Nassr won 3-2, and this long trip to Tajikistan represented another. a chance for the aging star to get some much-needed rest.

Between his neck injury, advanced age, long journey and lack of competitive stakes in the match, there was no reason for Ronaldo to make this trip against Istiklol. He should be ready to suit up for Friday’s home league game against Al Riyadh, seven points behind leaders Al Hilal.

Cristiano Ronaldo has played a heavy minute load this season, especially for a 38-year-old player. Still, he remains a key figure for the club, which is why head coach Luis Castro needed to deploy the Portuguese star at every possible step, so the chances of Ronaldo being rested are extremely valuable.

Ronaldo leads the Saudi Pro League in goalscoring with 15 goals in 14 games but was left out in the recent defeat to Al Hilal as challenger Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice to close the gap between the two.

From a team perspective, Al Nassr are second in the league table but must try to close the seven-point gap that has opened up between them and leaders Al Hilal after their recent loss. They have already secured qualification for the knockout stages of the AFC Champions League, which will begin in mid-February 2024.

 

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