Watch: Cristiano Ronaldo fans swarm Tehran streets, flood hotel lobby to welcome hero

Fans chanted the legend's name as he arrived with his Al Nassr teammates to face Iran's Persepolis in the Asian Champions League


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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 19 Sep 2023, 12:50 AM

Last updated: Wed 20 Sep 2023, 9:10 AM

Crowds of Iranian football fans gave Cristiano Ronaldo an excited welcome on Monday as his Saudi team arrived in Tehran for the first home-and-away club tie since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations.

Fans chanted the name of the Portuguese five-time world player of the year as he arrived with his Al Nassr teammates to face Iran's leading club Persepolis in the Asian Champions League on Tuesday.

The match will be the first since Tehran and Riyadh reached a deal that was announced in March.

Teams from both countries had only played matches on neutral grounds since 2016.

In Tehran, excitement filled the air as fans eagerly waited to catch a glimpse of 38-year-old Ronaldo as he left Iran's Imam Khomeini's airport with his teammates.

"It was a very good feeling, and we all enjoyed it," Al Nassr manager Luis Castro said in his press conference.

"We saw a series of scenes and many Iranian fans were even holding Al Nassr team shirts, which was a pleasant event for us."

Large crowds of cheering fans lined the streets as Ronaldo arrived at a hotel in Tehran on board the team bus.

Others chanting "Ronaldo, Ronaldo!" even flooded into the hotel lobby.

Watch the video here:

Posters of the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus star with "Welcome", written in Arabic, English and Farsi sprung up in the Iranian capital's main streets.

The game

Ronaldo enjoyed a winning debut as he helped Al Nassr to a 2-0 victory against 10-man Persepolis.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who has five UEFA Champions League titles to his name, captained the Saudi Arabian side to an opening three points in Group E.

The match at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran was played without fans after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) upheld a one-game ban for Persepolis supporters dating back to 2021.

Ronaldo tweeted after the match, expressing his joy at the win and the amazing welcome he received.


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