Al Nassr travels without Cristiano Ronaldo for AFC Champions League match
RIYADH — Al Nassr, the Saudi football team, set off for their AFC Champions League group stage clash against Al Duhail in Doha. However, the absence of Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as player Aymeric Laporte, raised eyebrows.
Portuguese coach Luis Castro made the decision to leave Ronaldo out of the traveling squad, citing concerns about player fatigue due to a demanding season. Ronaldo has been highly active for Al Nassr in both domestic and Asian competitions, in addition to representing the Portuguese national team in European qualifiers.
Given Ronaldo's age, 38, Castro believed it was prudent to provide the veteran player with a well-deserved break, particularly as Al Nassr closes in on a place in the AFC Champions League knockout stage.
Al Nassr currently leads Group E, holding a 3-point advantage over second-placed Persepolis from Iran. Besides Ronaldo, other notable absentees from the Al Nassr delegation to Doha included Aymeric Laporte, Abdullah Al-Khaybari, Nawaf Boushal, and Raghd Al-Najjar.