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Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr debut could be delayed indefinitely

"Cristiano Ronaldo" by Nathan Congleton is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

The five-time Ballon d’Or and Champions League winner may have to wait a while for his Al-Nassr debut because of a registration issue and a possible match ban.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi Pro League debut could be put on hold indefinitely after Al-Nassr exceeded their foreign player quota.

Ronaldo is Al-Nassr’s ninth foreign player, but Saudi clubs are only allowed eight foreigners each. Therefore, CR7 is reportedly ineligible to play against Al Ta’ee at Mrsool Park in the Saudi Pro League on Friday.

According to AFP, Al-Nassr need to offload one of their foreign players before the club can register Ronaldo for his debut.

“Al-Nassr has not registered him yet because there is no vacancy for a foreign player,” an unnamed club official told AFP on Thursday.

“A foreign player must leave to register Ronaldo, either by selling or by terminating the contract by mutual consent.”

Who are Al-Nassr’s other foreign players?

David Ospina🇨🇴GK
Alvaro Gonzalez🇪🇸DE
Ghislain Konan🇨🇮LB
Luiz Gustavo🇧🇷DM
Pity Martinez🇦🇷AM
Jaloliddin Masharipov🇺🇿LW
Vincent Aboubakar🇨🇲CF

Local reports in Saudi Arabia have claimed Jaloliddin Masharipov is the most likely foreign player to make way for Ronaldo. The 29-year-old midfielder has made just one appearance for Al-Nassr all season.

Reports of a two-game FA ban remain unconfirmed

In all, AFP spoke to two club officials and neither of them would confirm if Ronaldo needs to serve a two-match ban from the English Football Association.

Recent unconfirmed reports have claimed a FIFA rule may force the forward to be suspended for two Al-Nassr games due to a suspension the FA issued him in November for knocking a phone out of a young fan’s hand in a Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United last April.

Regardless, Al-Nassr hope to get their league game against Al Ta’ee underway on Friday. The club had to postpone the match on Thursday due to poor weather affecting the Mrsool Park stadium’s electricity.