Iranians have found few reasons to rejoice of late, with the economy on its knees and their country under international sanctions. That helps explain the flurry of excitement greeting the arrival of one of the biggest stars in world football, as Cristiano Ronaldo gets set for a debut on Iranian soil, APA reports citing Sports Tiger.
A private jet carrying the Portuguese five-times world player of the year and his teammates from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr club touched down in Tehran on Monday ahead of their AFC Champions League match against Iran’s Persepolis on Tuesday evening.
Ronaldo will spend about 36 hours in Tehran, with an entire floor at the Espinas Palace Tehran hotel allocated to his Saudi team, and a suite reserved for their star player. Iranian football fans, some with Ronaldo’s CR7 branding on their shirts, gathered at Imam Khomeini Airport on Monday as the team plane landed, and a larger crowd congregated outside the luxury hotel in the hope of catching a glimpse of their idol.
Ronaldo is one of the crown jewels in Saudi Arabia’s push into the world’s most popular sport. Its leading clubs spent more on players this summer than those in almost every leading league in football’s European heartland.