Cristiano Ronaldo hails 'one of the best seasons' of career after setting Saudi record

Portuguese forward scored 35 Saudi Pro League goals for Al Nassr, one more than the previous record

Powered by automated translation

Cristiano Ronaldo has said the recently concluded Saudi Pro League campaign was "one of the best seasons" of his career after setting a new goalscoring record.

Ronaldo, 39, struck 35 goals in 31 games for Al Nassr to set a new mark, overtaking Abderrazak Hamdallah's previous record of 34 in the 2018/19 season. The Portuguese forward also registered 11 assists, taking his SPL goal involvements to 46.

On 33 goals entering the final game of the season against former champions Al Ittihad, Ronaldo needed to score twice to set the new record. He duly delivered with a double to lead his side to a 4-2 victory and a place in the history books.

“It means a lot. I feel very happy. It’s probably one of the best seasons I’ve ever had in my career in terms of goals but assists too," Ronaldo said after collecting the Saudi Pro League 2023/24 Top Goalscorer award.

“To be honest it means a lot because it’s my work. I have to be honest and say it’s not something I was looking for at the beginning of the season but over time I started to see that it was possible.

"So, I have the opportunity to say thank you to my teammates because without the team nothing individually would have been possible – but I feel very proud to beat the Saudi league record. It’s great for me, I feel happy, and this is my motivation to play football, to train every time and to carry on like that.”

Since joining Al Nassr in late December 2022, Ronaldo has been typically prolific during his season-and-a-half in Saudi Arabia. He has scored 49 goals in 47 league appearances, and 64 in 69 games in all competitions.

In the calendar year 2023, he also scored the most club goals in the world with 54 in 59 appearances, which included successive hat-tricks against Al Tai and Abha in the league.

However, Ronaldo's goalscoring brilliance is yet to translate into major club trophies. Nassr finished runners-up to runaway champions Al Hilal in the Saudi Pro League and were also beaten by their Riyadh rivals in the King's Cup final on penalties, which left the Nassr captain in tears. In the Asian Champions League, Nassr were eliminated by UAE side and eventual champions Al Ain in the quarter-finals, also on penalties.

Ronaldo’s focus is now on Portugal and the 2024 European Championship where his country, champions in 2016, face the Czech Republic, Turkey and Georgia in the group stages in Germany, but he is also eagerly awaiting the 2024/25 Saudi Pro League season.

“I think the goals for each season is the kind of the same, it’s to do your best and win titles," said Ronaldo, who is Real Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer and the only player to score 100 or more goals for three clubs in Europe's top five leagues, achieving the feat with Real, Manchester United and Juventus.

"If possible, to collect individual [trophies] as well but my goal is to be the same – to be the same Cristiano that you saw this season, to do my best, to achieve goals with Al Nassr and with my Portugal national team as well. To maintain my level is what I’m looking for.”

Updated: June 04, 2024, 4:42 AM