Cristiano Ronaldo endeared himself further to his fans in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as he celebrated scoring by performing the Ardah, one of the Kingdom’s most recognizable traditional dances.
The Al-Nassr captain had a good night in front of goal, scoring two, and despite having a goal disallowed.
When he slotted home the team’s second, the Portuguese international turned to the home supporters and with a hand held high, performed his version of the Ardah.
The dance is one of the Kingdom’s foremost performance traditions, and in 2015 was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
It is performed on special occasions including official visits by world leaders, national holidays, and cultural festivals.
“Since his first day in Saudi Arabia, Cristiano’s statements contain love, respect and appreciation for Saudi Arabia and for the great project that we are pursuing, and today he celebrates with Ardah,” one user said on social media.
Another posted: “The best player in the world doesn’t just score goals, he is also exporting Saudi culture to the world.”
In the Ardah, performances start with a chant that was once used to rouse warriors facing an enemy.
And in that spirit the global superstar was looking to lead his team to victory after a disastrous start to the season, losing to Steven Gerrard-led Al-Ettifaq, and Al-Taawoun.
And that was exactly what he did.
Ronaldo’s two penalties lifted Nassr to a 4-0 win over Al-Shabbab at Al-Awwal Park in the Saudi capital.
Al-Shabab were without doubt Al-Nassr’s toughest challenge yet of the new season, but the home team looked comfortable throughout.
Ronaldo also selflessly stepped aside to allow Abdulrahman Ghareeb to take a penalty kick in the 63rd minute even though the Portuguese star was on the verge of securing a hat trick. Ghareeb’s kick was well saved and his follow-up shot disallowed.
A looping Ronaldo header found the Shabab net in the 18th minute, but it too was disallowed after VAR harshly ruled that he had shoved Fawaz Al-Sagourq before the strike.
Despite their woeful start to the season, Nassr are still one of the favorites to win the Saudi Pro League, and the vital victory in the Riyadh derby steers them back on course.
One of the world’s most decorated footballing talents, Ronaldo has settled into life in his new home as he aims to add to his achievements.
He has been seen out and about with his family enjoying the tourist attractions and nightlife in his new city. He has even been spotted wearing the traditional Saudi thobe in public.
“The most beautiful experience I ever had here was when I went to Boulevard World, which is something I really enjoyed,” he said in an SPL interview. “I brought all my family there.”
And Saudi citizens have taken to the player too.
Revelers in Taif have combined Ronaldo’s well-known “Siuu” goal celebration with a traditional dance known as “majroor,” with the resulting video going viral on social media.
One of the first major names to move to the SPL, Ronaldo has been joined in the championship by a host of top talent from European leagues including Karim Benzema, Neymar, Sadio Mane and Riyadh Mahrez.
In June, the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of the country, took a 75 percent ownership stake in four clubs: Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahli.
The move is a part of the Kingdom’s strategy to make the SPL one of the best in the world.
Ronaldo believes that it is certainly an achievable target, with the right effort from the league.
“In my opinion, if they continue to do the work that they want to do for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be the fifth (top league) in the world,” he told the SPL.
Ronaldo said the Nassr unveiling was one of his “best moments in football,” saying he is happy to be in Saudi Arabia.
“I will be part of your culture. I will be here.”