Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has grabbed the headlines since he joined Saudi club Al-Nassr in December 2022 with the 38-year-old being handed over the captaincy as well. Ronaldo has worn the captain’s armband in each of his three appearances for Al-Nassr.
His teammate and midfielder Jaloliddin Masharipov has opened up about how the rest of the squad reacted to Ronaldo being named captain right at the start.
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While speaking to Sports.ru, Masharipov revealed that the entire squad backed Ronaldo as captain because it would have been strange otherwise.
“It would be a little strange if the rest of the players are captaining Ronaldo. We expected it. Our former captain willingly handed over the armband Ronaldo without any problems. I think this is the best solution. It cannot be otherwise,” Masharipov said as per Daily Express.
Masharipov refuted rumours that Ronaldo was being given special treatment and added that he was happy to vacate his No.7 shirt for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The Uzbek player will instead wear the No.77 going forward.
“Before Ronaldo’s arrival, many people asked me, ‘Will you give him the No. 7?’ How can you not give it?! He is Cristiano Ronaldo! Such players should always be respected. After giving my number, many people assumed that I would leave the team. I gave my number without any problem. There was no talk of leaving. Both the club and the coach wanted to see me in the team. I have a contract with the team. I only changed my number because Ronaldo came. This guy is one of the two best players in the world. There is no need to talk much,” Masharipov was quoted as saying.
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Ronaldo though has had a lacklustre start to his stint with Al-Nassr. The former Manchester United forward drew a blank on his league debut against Ettifaq and also failed to score as Al-Nassr were dumped out of the Saudi Super Cup in the semi-final.
The talismanic striker only managed to register his first goal for his new club in his third appearance, scoring a last-minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Al Fateh.
It will be interesting to see how he fares in the upcoming games amid rumours of a return to European leagues.
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