Cristiano Ronaldo: 4 Reasons Al Hilal Were Always Going to Hinder Portugal Star’s Saudi Success

Cristiano Ronaldo: 4 Reasons Al Hilal Were Always Going to Hinder Portugal Star’s Saudi Success

Rene Otinga
updated at March 13, 2024 at 6:52 PM
In this article:
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC
Saudi Arabia
Al Nassr FC logo
Al Nassr
Saudi Arabia
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
  • Al Hilal set a unique world record on Tuesday, March 12
  • They defeated Al-Ittihad in the AFC Champions League
  • Jorge Jesus’ side are arguably the best in the Middle East

The gulf in quality between Al Hilal and the rest of the clubs in Saudi Arabia is there for all to see.

One team that has come closest to rivalling Jorge Jesus’ side this season is Al-Nassr, although they come in a distant second if stats are anything to go by.

Cristiaino Ronaldo's Al Nassr are 12 points behind Al Hilal in the SPL
Cristiano Ronaldo could be made to wait for a first league title in the Saudi Pro League by Al Hilal.. Photo: Yasser Bakhsh.
Source: Getty Images

On Monday, March 12, Al-Hilal broke a world record as they beat Al-Ittihad in the AFC Champions League in what was their 28th win in a row, per ESPN.

Karim Benzema’s side succumbed to a 2-0 defeat as Al Hilal surpassed the 27 consecutive win record set by Welsh club The New Saints in the 2016/17 season.

In advancing to the semi-finals of the AFC Champions League, Al-Hilal are in pole position to win two major trophies by the end of the season, all at the expense of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr.

Sports Brief now looks at some of the reasons why it was always going to be difficult for Cristiano Ronaldo and his wads to topple Al-Hilal.

1. Al Hilal is a well-oiled machine

As mentioned earlier, we are talking about a club that is one of the best in Saudi Arabia, and possibly the whole of the Middle East.

Not only does Al-Hilal have an experienced manager in Jorge Jesus, the club also boasts some proper signings from Europe including the high-flying Aleksandar Mitrovic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Rúben Neves and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Other Saudi clubs also have big names in their midst, but the fact that Al-Hilal players have integrated seamlessly puts them ahead of all competition.

2. Al Nassr’s game revolves around Cristiano

One major con of signing a player of Cristiano Ronaldo’s magnitude is the expectations that come with such a signing.

Ronaldo’s goal-scoring prowess has not stopped, as he has netted 49 goals in 57 games for the Riyadh-based team.

However, the team at times look lost without the 39-year-old in the squad. In games where Al Nassr struggled for a positive result, either Ronaldo was below par or he was missing from the squad altogether. A classic example was their latest game against Al-Ain.

3. Al Hilal’s frightening momentum

Much like Manchester City when they are in top gear, Al Hilal have proven to be unstoppable when they are in top form.

Jorge Jesus’ side is on an impressive winning streak, and you have to go all the way back to September 2023 for the last time they drew a match.

In contrast, Al-Nassr’s inconsistent form has seen them fall 12 points behind in the title race and there are no signs that the league leaders will surrender their lead anytime soon.

4. Al Hilal’s recent title successes

Al Hilal have been the dominant team in the Saudi Pro League over the past few seasons.

Despite missing out on last season’s title to Al-Ittihad, Al-Hilal know exactly what it takes to claim top honors in the league.

They have won four out of the last six league titles, and from the proceedings in the 2023/24 season, they are well on course to securing another one.

For Al-Nassr, they last won the title in the 2018/19 season, when Cristiano Ronaldo transitioned from Real Madrid to Juventus.

Al Nassr fan turns on Ronaldo

Sports Brief also reported on a viral video of an Al Nassr fan criticizing Cristiano Ronaldo.

The fan went on a tirade against the Portugal star, accusing him of ‘ghosting’ during big games.

Ronaldo scored a penalty for Al Nassr against Al Ain as his side lost in a shootout to crash out of the AFC Champions League.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and