When Rudi Garcia compares Ronaldo’s arrival at Al-Nassr to that of Pelé in New York

Passing through the Dakar on Sunday in Riyadh, Rudi Garcia, the French coach of Al-Nassr, returned to the excitement created by the recruitment of Cristiano Ronaldo in his team, aware that the Portuguese’s arrival in Saudi Arabia will accelerate the development of football in the Middle East.

Journalist : How does it feel to welcome star Cristiano Ronaldo to your ranks?

Rudi Garcia : “It’s great. Top for us, for Al-Nassr. Top for Saudi Arabia. Cristiano Ronaldo is more than a player. He is one of the best players in the world, five times Ballon d’Or I think for the development of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, it’s very, very important. If I can make a comparison for Cristiano, I think it’s a bit like the arrival of Pelé (at the Cosmos New York) in his time, notably for the development of football, sport and culture in Saudi Arabia.

It’s crazy how it has given a spotlight on our club. Now everyone knows where our club is in the whole world (….) I think we must have gone from 800,000 to 10 million (followers) in a few hours, a few days thanks to the arrival of Cristiano.

Journalist: in what state of mind is he?

Rudi Garcia : He is physically well, that we suspected. As I often think: the greatest champions are the easiest to manage. He blended into the group. He was seen joking and laughing happily with his new teammates. He was with us for the last match, even though he couldn’t play. He was in the locker room, he was riding his bike and he was happy for us on goal. He is totally with his team. He wants to win, he’s a winner. He will also pull everyone behind him from this point of view.

Journalist: when will he play? Will it be against PSG on January 19?

Rudi Garcia : Not the next game against Al-Shabab (January 14, editor’s note), which is a big game, because he will still be suspended. It will be against Al-Ettifaq, at home, on January 22. (The 19th, editor’s note) It will not be Al-Nassr’s shirt. It will be a mix between Al-Hilal and al-Nassr. For development, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, it’s actually a good thing. But on a league match three days later. But it’s not very serious, the main thing is that it shows how keen Saudi Arabia is on sport, football.

Afterwards, the only thing I wish for Ronaldo is that he rediscovers the pleasure of playing and a smile. Because in recent months between Manchester, the national team and then at private level, he has not had only easy moments. If he finds the pleasure of playing it will already be a goal achieved.


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