Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr recently announced their latest managerial hire. The club, which employs Cristiano Ronaldo, has officially appointed Portuguese coach Luis Castro as head coach. The 61-year-old’s signing could instill new life into Ronaldo’s spell in Saudi Arabia, as Castro is known to be a massive admirer of the forward.
Official, completed. Luis Castro signs as new Al Nassr head coach — he’s joining Cristiano Ronaldo’s team where more signings are expected after Brozović. 🟡🔵🇸🇦
Castro leaves Botafogo to try new chapter in Saudi league. pic.twitter.com/yfHcau9bez
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 6, 2023
In fact, reports around the appointment have even suggested that Al Nassr acted on Ronaldo‘s suggestion and hired his fellow compatriot. Castro’s managerial experience includes two seasons at the helm of Shakhtar Donetsk, a year at Al-Duhail, and a brief stint at Botafogo. Fans are hoping that the Portuguese can get the best out of the striker, whom he once hailed as the ‘most effective Soccer player in the world’.
New Al Nassr Coach Luis Castro on Cristiano in 2020:
“When you have Cristiano in your team, you should never let him go, he is the best player in the world, a machine that never stops. Ronaldo is like a building that has risen by itself, without anyone’s help.“
Welcome 🤝❤️ pic.twitter.com/nn56ChEgqo
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) July 6, 2023
Castro made the claim in 2020 while he was managing in Ukraine. The 61-year-old questioned Real Madrid’s decision to let Ronaldo leave. He said, “When you have Cristiano in your team, you should never let him go, he is the best player in the world, a machine that never stops. Ronaldo is like a building that has risen by itself, without anyone’s help.“
Despite his public warning, the 38-year-old’s former club Juventus allowed Ronaldo to leave just a year later. And judging by their fortunes since his departure, the decision can be classified as a mistake.
Juventus’ achievements since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure
Cristiano Ronaldo adapted to life in the Serie A relatively quickly. He ended his term in Turin having scored 81 goals in just 91 appearances at Juventus. He even lifted silverware with the club, including 2 League titles, 2 Super Cups, and 1 Coppa Italia. In Ronaldo, Juventus had a rampant source of goals. And predictable enough, the Italian giants struggled after his departure.
While his move away helped free up Juventus’ wage bill, success on the field rapidly declined. With a lopsided squad featuring aging veterans and unpolished youth players, the club struggled to win titles. They went from winning 2 Serie A titles in a row with Ronaldo to winning none in three straight seasons. In fact. the club hasn’t won any silverware since the striker’s departure.
Cristiano Ronaldo 19/20 stats for Juventus, the last time they won the Scudetto:
• 31 goals, 5 assists
• 1.5 key passes per game
• 1.8 fouls drawn
• 1.6 dribbles completed
• 85.1% pass completion
• 5.2 progressive carries/90
Under-appreciated. 🐐 pic.twitter.com/sUOQEtehTC
— TCR. (@TeamCRonaldo) April 16, 2023
This fact alone speaks volumes about the soccer legend’s influence on the team, whose spell at Juventus was rather impressive, even by his lofty standards.