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How Ronaldo, Neymar, Mane and Top Saudi Based Stars Performed After International Break
- Club football returned with a bang as the Saudi Pro League resumed this weekend
- The SPL continues to attract global support due to the presence of many top stars
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and other stars continue to light up the Saudi top flight
Club football returned in full swing over the weekend after the conclusion of the first international break of the 2023-24 season.
As anticipated, footballers - the main architects of the 'Beautiful Game' - rejoined their respective clubs in the Saudi Pro League, drawing the world's attention back to the Middle Eastern nation.
According to GOAL, Cristiano Ronaldo's pioneering move to Al-Nassr opened the door for a slew of top football stars to follow his unconventional yet bold step to the Gulf state this summer.
The Portuguese phenomenon and players of his calibre have injected newfound excitement into a league that previously garnered limited global attention.
Sports Brief offers a glimpse into the performances of these stars following the international break:
Stars light up Saudi League
Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane
Starting with the man himself, Ronaldo left his mark on Al-Nassr's 3-1 victory over Al Raed, Sportstar reports.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus star not only scored an exceptional goal but also nutmegged his marker before unleashing a powerful left-footed strike.
Before Ronaldo's breathtaking goal, former Liverpool and Bayern Munich winger, Sadio Mane displayed his brilliance by scoring a stunning goal for the Knights of Najd in their comfortable win.
Both players have been in devastating form since Al-Nassr recovered from two consecutive defeats in their opening two SPL fixtures.
Neymar Junior and Aleksander Mitrovic
Across the Riyadh divide at Al-Hilal, Neymar made his highly anticipated debut for the Blue Waves as he played a cameo role in their 6-1 demolition of Al-Riyadh.
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The Brazilian playmaker - still the most expensive footballer - continued on from breaking Pele's goal-scoring record for Brazil with an assist during his half an hour on the pitch.
His Al-Hilal teammate, Serbian striker Aleksander Mitrovic continued his impressive goal-scoring run, bringing his tally to five goals in four Saudi Pro League matches.
Riyadh Mahrez and Allan Saint-Maximin
Elsewhere in Jeddah, Riyadh Mahrez and Allan Saint-Maximin played pivotal roles for Al-Ahli as they secured a hard-fought narrow win in a thrilling five-goal contest against Al Taawoun.
Undoubtedly, the biggest name in the Saudi capital, Karim Benzema, scored an unconventional knee goal to help the reigning champions, Al-Ittihad chalk a slim win against Al Akhdoud.
Steven Gerrard, Moussa Dembele and Demarai Gray
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard's Al-Ettifaq squad picked up right where they left off after the break, claiming a resounding 3-1 victory against Abha.
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Star forward, Moussa Dembele found the back of the net once again while former Everton winger, Demarai Gray came off the substitute's bench to provide two assists.
Ronaldo predicts bright SPL future
Earlier, Sports Brief reported on Ronaldo emphasising his belief in SPL, stating the league is poised to become one of the premier football leagues globally in the coming years.
The 38-year-old's unorthodox decision to join Al-Nassr helped pave the way for other football stars, significantly enhancing the SPL's overall quality in a relatively short period.