Ronaldo breaks Saudi League goals record in a single season

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Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo capped his first full Saudi Pro League season in style by breaking the record for the most goals scored in a single campaign on Monday.

The 39-year-old Portuguese scored a brace in his side’s 4-2 win over Al Ittihad on the final day, taking his tally to 35 league goals this season.

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The previous record was held by former Al Nassr striker and Moroccan international Abderrazak Hamdallah, who scored 34 goals in 2018-19.

Ronaldo, who has played for Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, joined Al Nassr in January 2023.

In the final seconds of the first half, Ronaldo, who had already had two goals ruled out for offside, repelled a long pass from Mohammed Al-Fatil and opened the scoring with a low shot from the left side of the surface.

With 21 minutes remaining, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner celebrated wildly after heading in a Marcelo Brozovic corner. He was substituted off the field five minutes later to a standing ovation from the home fans.

It ends a busy season for Ronaldo, who scored four hat-tricks and collected a red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February toward Al Shabab fans who chanted the name of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longtime soccer rival.

Despite the individual accolades afforded to Ronaldo this campaign, it was a disappointing one for a talented team that boasted other global stars such as Sadio Mane and Brozovic. Al Nassr finished far behind Al Hilal in the standings and failed to win a trophy in the Saudi Cup or Asian Champions League.

Al Hilal were too strong even without Neymar, who joined the club in August from Paris Saint-Germain but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.

Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped up and ended the season with a goal in the dying seconds to secure a 2-1 victory over Al Wehda. The Serbian striker, signed from London club Fulham last summer, has scored 27 league goals, second only to Ronaldo.

On the way to the title, Al Hilal scored 34 consecutive victories in all competitions, a new world record for a top team.

“This season has been truly exceptional for the team, arguably the best in its history,” said coach Jorge Jesus. “Credit goes to the immense talent within the team and the incredible sense of unity that transcends interactions on and off the field.”

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