Cristiano Ronaldo thanks Iranian fans after 'special visit' for Asian Champions League

Portuguese forward given the superstar treatment as Al Nassr open campaign with win over Persepolis

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Cristiano Ronaldo has shown his gratitude to Iranian football fans after the Al Nassr captain made a winning start to his Asian Champions League career.

Ronaldo, one of the most popular footballers in the world, was the centre of attention during his short stay in Tehran, where Nassr began their Group E bid with a 2-0 victory at Persepolis on Tuesday night.

There may have been no supporters in the almost 100,000-capacity Azadi Stadium – Persepolis fans were serving a one-game Asian Football Confederation ban dating back to 2021 – but Ronaldo was given the superstar treatment from the moment Nassr touched down in the Iranian capital.

Fans crowded the streets to greet the Nassr team bus as it made its way to the team hotel, with many raising welcome banners and pictures of the Portuguese forward. He was also presented with a handmade Iranian carpet, while Nassr posted videos on social media of Ronaldo interacting with numerous young fans.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Ronaldo posted: “Great to get the win today! A very special thank you to the fans and to all the Iranian people who have made this visit so special for us. Such an incredibly warm welcome!”

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives in Iran

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives in Iran

Playing in Iran for the first time since Saudi Arabia and Iran re-established diplomatic ties, Nassr eventually ran out 2-0 winners on Tuesday, thanks to a Danial Esmaeilifar own goal and a superb strike from full-back Mohammed Qassem. Persepolis were reduced to 10 men seven minutes into the second half when Milad Sarlak received a second yellow card, for unintentionally stamping on Ronaldo's boot. The score was goalless at the time.

Ronaldo, 38, was making his debut in the Asian Champions League. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus star is a five-time winner of its European equivalent, the Uefa Champions League.

Updated: September 20, 2023, 2:50 PM