Cristiano Ronaldo sends message to Rudi Garcia following manager's exit at Al Nassr

Frenchman leaves the club 'by mutual agreement' after less than one year in charge

Cristiano Ronaldo, centre, alongside Rudi Garcia during his official unveiling as an Al Nassr player in January 2023. Garcia was sacked as head coach on April 13. AFP
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Cristiano Ronaldo has wished Rudi Garcia well for the future after the Al Nassr manager’s much-anticipated exit from the club was confirmed on Thursday.

The Saudi side, nine-time domestic champions, announced they had parted company with the Frenchman “by mutual agreement”, bringing an end to his eight-and-a-half-month tenure.

Garcia, 59, leaves Nassr second in the Saudi Pro League, with the Riyadh club three points behind Al Ittihad with seven games remaining. He has been replaced, initially at least, by Under 19 manager Dinko Jelicic.

On Thursday, in response to Garcia’s exit, Ronaldo posted on Instagram a picture with the former Roma coach together with a note reading: “Pleasure to have worked with you. Wishing you all the best for the future.”

Nassr, who later posted pictures of Garcia attending the club’s annual iftar and saying goodbye to players, had earlier said in a statement: “Al Nassr can announce that head coach Rudi Garcia has left the club by mutual agreement.

“The board and everyone at Al Nassr would like to thank Rudi and his staff for their dedicated work during the past eight months.”

It was reported that Garcia’s tactics had been questioned by some of Nassr’s senior players, including Ronaldo. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who joined the club in December for a deal believed to be worth more than $200 million per year, has scored 11 goals in 10 league matches.

However, Nassr have won only two of their past four top-flight games as they chase a first championship crown in four years. Last time out, they drew 0-0 with Al Feiha, prompting Ronaldo to vent his frustration at full time.

The Portuguese forward, 38, removed his captain’s armband and exchanged seemingly angry words with teammates and opposition players before leaving the pitch.

Nassr are next in action on Tuesday, in the hugely significant derby against current domestic and Asian champions Al Hilal.

Updated: April 14, 2023, 6:51 AM