Cristiano Ronaldo to sit out AFC Champions League match against Al-Duhail, missing anticipated duel with Kenya's Michael Olunga.
Cristiano Ronaldo is set to miss the upcoming AFC Champions League match in Qatar, a much-anticipated face-off where he would not share the pitch with Kenya's star player Michael Olunga.
According to reports, the Al Nassr superstar is taking a rest period, likely due to discomfort in his ankle post his last game with Al Khaleej FC.
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This decision comes as a bit of a shock to fans who were looking forward to witnessing another thrilling encounter between Ronaldo and Olunga, following their previous head-to-head where both players scored for their respective teams.
After Ronaldo's absence in the images published of Al Nassr's squad traveling to Qatar, speculation was confirmed that he would not be part of the crucial tie against Al-Duhail.
"Luis Castro, coach of Al-Nassr Saudi Arabia, preferred to give Cristiano Ronaldo a rest from the Al-Duhail match tomorrow, as the player suffers from fatigue," reported Al Kass TV, hinting at the need to preserve the footballer's health for upcoming fixtures.
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Ronaldo's absence is particularly disheartening for Qatari fans, many of whom had queued for hours to secure tickets to the match at Khalifa International Stadium, hoping to catch a glimpse of the former Real Madrid legend.
Despite this setback, the stadium's shift from the smaller Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium to the larger venue underscores the high fan expectations and the star power Ronaldo still commands.
The rest given to Ronaldo is not isolated as other key players like Aymeric Laporte and Abdullah Al-Khaibari from Al Nassr are also being rested, pointing to a strategic move by the coach to mitigate injury risks ahead of a packed season schedule.
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Ronaldo's journey this season has been punctuated by moments of brilliance but also marred by injuries, such as the knee issue he suffered back in August during the Arab Champions League.
Despite the absence of CR7, the game carries significant weight. Al-Duhail, still reeling from their first-leg defeat where Ronaldo’s two goals and an assist were pivotal in the 4-3 win for Al Nassr, might see this as an opportunity to tip the scales in their favor.
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However, Ronaldo's stellar performance has not only contributed to his team's current standing but has also edged him closer to a record 863 senior career goals for both club and country.