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Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t look ready for the new season… yet: Six things we learned as Al-Nassr hold Kylian Mbappe-less PSG in pre-season clash



The Portuguese will likely need to raise his game in 2023-24 given the influx of stars into the Saudi Pro League, but he disappointed against PSG

Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless and turned in a drab performance as his Al-Nassr side fought to an uneventful scoreless draw with PSG in their pre-season meeting in Osaka. Chances were rare in this high-profile friendly, with a Kylian Mbappe-less PSG lacking a goalscoring punch, instead turning to a litany of imperfect options and teenagers for attacking production.

Al-Nassr, meanwhile, looked to feed their main man, and he marked a relatively uneventful first half — if only because of his failure to put a chance away. Ronaldo met a floated cross from five yards out, but saw his weak effort thwarted by Gianluigi Donnarumma. He missed a far more speculative chance shortly after, putting a bicycle kick well past the post.His miscues were the closest either team came for most of the contest. PSG, fielding a mixture of academy players and new signings, were lacking in possession, and never really strung a coherent attacking move together. Marco Asensio had the occasional half-chance, but his like of killer instinct cost Luis Enrique’s side.Ronaldo was removed from play after 65 minutes, slumping off the pitch and acknowledging the smattering of Al-Nassr shirts that stuck out in a sea of PSG fans. This wasn’t his finest performance — far from it. Those showings are becoming less frequent these days, especially against tougher competition. And, if nothing else, this served as evidence that Ronaldo will need to raise his game once the competitive action begins.

Ronaldo, in fairness, joined Al-Nassr when the Saudi Pro League season was well underway last season, and although a player of his quality is expected to quite comfortably dominate a lower-calibre division, there was always going to be something of an adjustment period.

Not anymore, though. This time, Ronaldo has no excuses. And in Al-Nassr’s latest warm-up, the Portuguese didn’t have much of an impact. A lot of the typical Ronaldo things were here. He floated around the box, waiting for the right cross or fortunate nick off a PSG defender. He broke out a few stepovers, chops, and turns — few of which were particularly necessary.

But his impact in front of goal — the thing he is supposed to be on the pitch for — was minimal. PSG certainly did their part defensively, but Ronaldo turned in a poor showing. Even he will need time to find form.