Despite the cries that “irritate” Messi, Ronaldo is anticipated to remain in Saudi Arabia.

Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to remain an Al Nassr player next season, even if he is constantly taunted by Saudi fans.

The footballing icon’s time in the Saudi Pro League has been far from plain sailing so far, with rival supporters not passing up the opportunity to remind him of his legendary counterpart Lionel Messi.

Ronaldo has had to block out noise from opposition supporters throughout his time in Saudi Arabia3

Ronaldo has had to block out noise from opposition supporters throughout his time in Saudi ArabiaCredit: Getty

And the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has at times not helped his reputation among fans, having previously responded angrily to their abuse with a crude gesture, as well as receiving a red card in his latest match against Al Hilal after appearing to elbow an opponent.

But despite his clear issues with some Middle Eastern crowds, Saudi football expert Ben Jacobs expects Ronaldo to stay at Al Nassr beyond the current season.

Joining Jim White and Simon Jordan on talkSPORT, Jacobs argued that the 39-year-old feels a sense of responsibility to deliver success for his club, having been a marquee signing for the Saudi league.

He said: “I think he’ll do another season. I think Ronaldo still feels that he’s the one capitalising this. So there’s a personal aspect that feeds into maybe his ego that he started all of this.”

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star’s move to Al Nassr certainly opened the door for other high-profile players to follow in his footsteps.

After joining his current club in January 2023, the subsequent summer transfer window saw stars such as Neymar, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane all sign for teams in the Saudi top-flight.

But Jacobs admitted that despite topping the league’s goal-scoring charts with 29 goals this term, the sporting legend will be disappointed with his team’s performance this campaign, who sit second in the league table, 12 points adrift of leaders Al Hilal.

He explained: “By the same token he’s frustrated. Al Nassr are second, they’re out of the Saudi Super Cup, he got sent off late in a game against Al Hilal.”

Saudi fans have enjoyed reminding Ronaldo of the recent success of his long-time rival Lionel Messi3

Saudi fans have enjoyed reminding Ronaldo of the recent success of his long-time rival Lionel MessiCredit: Getty
Their chants have not stopped Ronaldo from plundering in goals this season3

Their chants have not stopped Ronaldo from plundering in goals this seasonCredit: AFP

The sports journalist then added supporters’ constant taunting of Ronaldo with chants of Messi to the Portugal captain’s list of frustrations, particularly given the Argentine’s 2022 World Cup victory.

Jacobs continued: “And every time he does anything wrong, opposition fans are chanting the name ‘Leo Messi’.

“And that juxtaposition of Messi winning the World cup, Ronaldo being in Saudi Arabia, I think is really irking him.”

Despite this, he reiterated: “I expect him to do one more season, but quite clearly there’s aspects out there now that are irritating Ronaldo.

“Particularly, and oddly at this stage of his career, when people are chanting the name Lionel Messi at him.”

And while reminders of the recent contrasting fortunes between Ronaldo and his legendary rival may be difficult for him to stomach, the forward has still enjoyed some standout moments at Al Nassr.

Football’s all-time greatest goalscorer recorded back-to-back hat-tricks in the two games prior to his sending off against Al Hilal, netting trebles in his side’s 5-1 and 8-0 demolitions against Abha and Al Tai respectively.

Ronaldo will hope he can continue his fine goalscoring form in the Saudi Pro League should he ultimately choose to remain with the club, where they will target a first league title since 2019.

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