Cristiano Ronaldo has landed in Tehran to face Persepolis in the AFC Champions League match and the streets of the city have been filled with thousands of supporters going to the lengths to see a glimpse of their favourite superstar.
Luis Castro’s men will be preparing to take on the Iranian club at the Azadi Stadium on Tuesday night.
Fans in large numbers followed Al-Nassr from the airport to the hotel where they were seen doing Ronaldo’s trademark celebration “Siiuuu” as they surrounded the bus.
As if that was not enough, the fans followed the bus to the hotel where the team was staying and were seen climbing a mountain to see the 38-year-old at the hotel.
For the young population of Iran who grew up fighting with constant economic challenges and international sanctions, the arrival of one of the greatest players of all time is no less than a blessing as it has become a source of happiness and excitement.
Ronaldo, 38, is one of the most popular personalities in the world. He is the individual with the most followers (605 million) on Instagram.
Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr in January 2023 on a big-money contract opened the way to hundreds of footballers as we saw some of the biggest names like Karim Benzema, Neymar, Riyad Mahrez, Sadio Mane and others making their way to the Gulf country.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s move also helped in promoting football in the Middle East. We will also see Neymar arriving in India to participate in Al-Hilal’s group-stage game against Mumbai City F.C.
Al-Nassr is in Group E with Persepolis FC, Al Duhail SC and Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol.
It must be noted that Persepolis FC is the most successful Iranian club and have a massive fan following.
However, Tuesday’s match will take place behind closed doors due to a ban imposed by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) over some license regulations.
AFC Champions League is the highest tier of Asian club competitions where top teams from all over Asia play each other.