No ‘Ronaldo no-show’ like 2019… Saudi ‘downpour ceremony’ intuition

For my coverage of the European Ladies European Tour (LET), which kicked off on Friday, I gathered information about Saudi Arabia and its capital city of Riyadh “as it came up. I used YouTube, the internet, social media, and every search engine I could think of to dig into the country.

It wasn’t easy: Saudi Arabia, which had been closed to foreigners, only opened its doors to tourists in 2019. Until then, it was difficult to travel to Saudi Arabia for anything other than diplomatic or business reasons. That’s not to say the doors are wide open. To get a tourist visa, you need to pay about $200,000 in your own money. The visa also comes with insurance, which is unusual for a tourist visa.

As a result, there wasn’t much information about Saudi Arabia on the internet or YouTube. There are not many travel YouTubers or vloggers who have traveled to Saudi Arabia, so I gathered information by watching some videos. The common answers were that ▲ there are still not many foreign tourists, ▲ there is no public transportation in Saudi Arabia, so you have to take a taxi or Uber, ▲ most shops are closed during the day and reopen late in the afternoon and stay open until 1-2 a.m., and ▲ alcohol sales are strictly limited, so cafes and dessert culture are highly developed.

While browsing the internet, I came across a video that made my eyes light up. It was Cristiano Ronaldo (39-Alnasr) playing in Saudi Arabia. I had forgotten about him. Ronaldo, the world’s greatest soccer star, who was branded a “nalgangdu” (a portmanteau of Ronaldo and robber) for sitting on the bench in a July 2019 K League friendly while playing for Juventus, was playing for Saudi Arabia. ….

Just to be sure, I went to the website of Al-Nasr and the Saudi Professional League. I found that Al-Nasr had a game at 8 p.m. on the 18th, the day I was staying, and I searched again, just in case, and was sure that they were playing at home against Al-Ahwal Park in Riyadh. The timing was perfect, as I would be done with my third round of golf by 8pm and still have plenty of time to travel.

The next problem was booking tickets. I immediately searched for ‘Alnasr tickets’ and found a site that resells tickets. I paid 200,000 won for two tickets, including one for Kim Jalhan (22), a local citizen who helped me cover the tournament and played as Hong’s caddie during the tournament.

As the game day approached, I felt a mixture of excitement and anxiety. The excitement of seeing Ronaldo play was mixed with the worry of what would happen if he didn’t show up. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was worried about the no-shows of 2019. In particular, Lionel Messi’s recent benching against Hong Kong reminded me of the Ronaldo incident.

Saturday arrived with all of these thoughts. After finishing my coverage of the third round, I went back to my hostel, unpacked my things, and took a taxi to Al-Awal Park. I met Mr. Jalhan in front of the stadium and we entered the stadium together.

Al-Awal Park is a 25,000-seat soccer stadium located inside King Saud University. The stadium opened in 2015, and while the overall facility was clean, the seats were unnumbered. The seats were clearly labeled with rows and numbers when you bought your tickets, but the seats were only covered with vinyl, so there was a lot of jostling for position.

The majority of the crowd was male. There were many fathers holding the hands of their young children. There was the occasional female audience member. “A few years ago, women weren’t even allowed to watch sports or movies with men in Saudi Arabia, and even when restrictions were lifted, there were segregated seating areas. It’s something I’m not used to seeing now.”

It’s kickoff at exactly 8pm. All eyes were already on Ronaldo before kickoff. Alnasr had a top Senegalese winger, Sadio Mane, playing alongside him, but the eyes don’t lie.

He may be 40 years old, but Ronaldo is still Ronaldo. He was shaky, but when he got the ball, he moved like lightning. Alnasr’s overall attacking pattern was also centered around Ronaldo, with crosses from both sides of the pitch aimed at him.

It’s the 17th minute of the first half, and things are just heating up. The much-anticipated goal came. It was 카지노사이트 Ronaldo. Sultan Alganam’s low cross from the right side of the box was met with a right-footed strike. He didn’t forget to do his trademark ‘downpour’ celebration. My only regret was that the place where he posed was far from where we were sitting, so it was hard to see.

Having already “intuited” Ronaldo’s goal and the downpour, I had no more wishes for the day. Afterward, I watched the game at a leisurely pace. The field was occasionally chanting in Arabic, which was hard to follow, but we were able to join in with the applause. The game was tense until Alfateh equalized in the 29th minute of the first half, and Alnasr Otabiu scored the winning goal in the 27th minute of the second half to give Alnasr a 2-1 victory. Ronaldo was all smiles after the game, having spent the entire match berating his teammates.

After playing exclusively in Europe, Ronaldo announced his signing with Alnasr in January last year. The estimated salary is 27 billion won. That’s more than 20 billion won a month, but given Saudi Arabia’s recent sports spending spree, it doesn’t seem like a lot. Mr. Jalhan says, “The Saudi Professional League has been spending a lot of money since a few years ago, and many famous players have come. However, Saudi players have lost their place in the league,” he said. “Still, it’s amazing to see Ronaldo play in front of you. I live here and I’ve never seen a Ronaldo game before. There was talk that Ronaldo might retire this year or next, so I’m glad to see him score a goal,” he laughed.

After the game, we took dozens of post-match photos before exiting Al-Awal Park. With nearly 20,000 people trying to get out, the roads in front of the stadium were blocked and taxis were hard to come by, but that’s part of the experience.

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