RIYADH ( Associated Press) — Al Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo’s new team, has been nicknamed Al Alami, which means “The Global Club.”
However, the Saudi squad were hardly prepared for the sudden global attention following one of the most sensational and surprising signings in football history.
Al Nassr does not yet have an English website. This represented a problem for many fans, who wanted to find out the details of Cristiano’s signing, announced last Friday.
The club’s Twitter account shows two simple photos taken in Madrid after the conclusion of the conversation. It took 10 minutes to update in English.
Only a week after the signing, Al Nasr’s social network has become friendlier with Western users. But its website is still available only in Arabic language.
His Instagram account has grown from 1.2 million followers to 9.6 million. And the number continues to rise.
Cristiano has brought instant fame to the club, far beyond the borders of Asia and the Middle East. Now, Al Nasr will have to take the steps it implies.
He hired an outside public relations firm to help him deal with the sudden influx of interview requests from the press. In this case, Cristiano already has his own manager.
His presentation on Tuesday at the 25,000-capacity Mrisul Park included a highly controlled lecture, with no questions asked by reporters.
The Al Nasr nickname came as a result of being the first Asian club to play in a global competition, the inaugural edition of the Club World Cup held in Brazil in 2000.
But the team was little known to fans on other continents before November, when reports emerged that it was courting Cristiano.
In fact, Al Nassr wouldn’t even be the most popular club in Riyadh.
Neighbors Al Hilal are the most successful team in Saudi football with 18 titles and four Asian Champions Leagues.
Al Nassr plays at the old Al Hilal Stadium, which was also linked to attempts to sign Cristiano.
The acquisition of Cristiano is another reason why Al Nassr’s supporters are enthusiastically celebrating his arrival. It is a victory over an arch rival.
They stood in the rain to have a first look at the 37-year-old attacker ahead of his presentation. They chanted his name as he entered the field wearing a yellow and blue shirt and the number 7 on his back.
Al Nassr chairman Musalli Almuammar said that the purpose of the signing was not only to win trophies, but also to change the face of the club and the whole of Saudi football.
“Having the best player in the world is a sign that we have a vision to take Saudi football to a better position,” he insisted.
Cristiano, however, is here to win in what could be the last move of his award-winning career.
Guiding Al Nassr to a tenth league title at the expense of champions Al Hilal could be a good start to life at his new club.