September 19 – Hundreds of fans stormed a hotel in Tehran on Monday hoping for a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo after he arrived with his Al Nassr teammates ahead of the first visit of a Saudi team to Iran since 2016 for the group stage of the Asian Champions League.
Chanting ‘Ronaldo, Ronaldo,’, the fans pushed past police, filling the corridors and public spaces of the Espians Palace Hotel. Children wore Al-Nassr and Portugal shirts bearing Ronaldo’s name and number.
Al Nassr are set to play Iran’s Persepolis later today in Tehran. The return game will be played in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on November 27.
Matches between the two countries have only recently become possible by the restoration of diplomatic relations and the agreement of the AFC.
The 2015 Asian Champions League edition was the last time Saudi and Iranian teams faced each other on home turf in the group stage or knockout rounds. Until the recent softening of relations, matches had been played on neutral territory
Al-Nassr posted several photos of Ronaldo receiving a luxurious Iranian carpet from Persepolis supporters.
“Mr. Cristiano Ronaldo, welcome to Iran. A token of appreciation, an original hand-woven piece of art made by Iranian artists to commemorate your presence in Iran, on behalf of Persepolis’s fans,” the fans wrote.
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