Ronaldo gets off to winning start in Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo got off to a winning start making his long-awaited debut for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr in a 1-0 victory over Ettifaq on Sunday.

 It was the Portuguese superstar's first match in the Saudi Pro League since becoming the best paid footballer in history, although he failed to score on his debut.

The 37-year-old signed a 2-1/2 year deal with Al Nassr last month, reported to be worth over 200 million euros, but has had to wait to play because of a two-match ban for knocking a phone out of a fan's hand in April.

Expectations for his debut were sky-high after his brace against Paris St Germain in a friendly on Thursday, but despite showcasing plenty of endeavour against Al Ettifaq, Ronaldo was unable to add to his tally of more than 800 senior goals overall for club and country.

Named the captain ahead of the match, he was full of running and had a couple of bright moments, but mostly cut a lonely figure up front as his new team mates appeared to be on a different wavelength and rarely picked him out.

The Portugal international had a shot from the edge of the penalty area blocked early on in the first half, before being denied a penalty shout upon being wrestled to the ground by an Ettifaq defender in the 19th minute.

Brazilian forward Talisca put Al Nassr ahead in the 31st minute, when he rose to meet Abdulmajeed Al-Sulaiheem's cross and plant a header past Al Ettifaq goalkeeper Paulo Victor.

Ronaldo's best moment after the break came in a supportive role, as he played a cross into the feet of Pity Martinez, whose first-time shot was tipped over the bar by Victor.

Victor was kept on his toes, as Al-Sulaiheem and Talisca forced him into saves with well-struck efforts from long range, but Al Nassr were unable to find another goal.

Ronaldo's desire to kick off his stint at Al Nassr with a goal became more and more evident as the second half wore on, culminating with an unsuccessful attempt at a bicycle kick.

"In the world of football there is one Cristiano Ronaldo and we are happy to have him with us. Ronaldo's personality helped him to adapt with the team," goalscorer Talisca told Saudi Sports Channel.

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