Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr have cancelled their two-game China tour after the forward suffered an injury, the Saudi club said on Tuesday, sparking concern over the Portuguese's participation in their upcoming encounter against Lionel Messi's Inter Miami.
Al-Nassr were scheduled to play Shanghai Shenhua on Jan. 24 and Zhejiang four days later, with both games now postponed.
— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) January 23, 2024
Chinese fans have STORMED the Al Nassr hotel in large numbers expressing their disappointment over Cristiano Ronaldo's inability to participate in the friendly.
— The CR7 Timeline. (@TimelineCR7) January 23, 2024
Chinese fans have stormed into the Al Nassr team hotel pic.twitter.com/RvaNQ05Ekd— Al Nassr Zone (@TheNassrZone) January 23, 2024
"We are willing to complete our training camp as planned in Shenzhen, a city that has warmly welcomed us and shown so much love for us and our Captain," Al-Nassr said in a statement.
"Furthermore, we have agreed with the organizer to schedule a new match as soon as possible."
The 38-year-old Ronaldo apologized to fans as he confirmed he was struggling with a fitness issue.
"I have played for 22 years and I am a player that doesn't have too many injuries. So I'm really sad because Al-Nassr and myself have come to China to enjoy the tour," Ronaldo said.
"We have not cancelled the game, we want to push for the game and be back here... Unfortunately, I have some problem, but this is part of football and my life."
️| Cristiano Ronaldo’s message to the Chinese fans after his injury:“I love this country [China]. I love being here. I love being with you. I want to play for you. Please don’t be sad, because I’m sad too.”
— CentreGoals. (@centregoals) January 23, 2024
Ronaldo, who was in Dubai last week to receive three prizes at the Globe Soccer Awards, was absent from Al-Nassr's training at the beginning of this week, local media reported.
Following their now-cancelled China tour, Al-Nassr will next face Messi and his Inter Miami side in a friendly tournament in Riyadh on Feb. 1.
The two teams will also play Neymar's Al-Hilal, the current Saudi Pro League leaders.
(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska in GdanskEditing by Toby Davis)