Football fans gave Cristiano Ronaldo a hero’s welcome as his club, Al Nassr, arrived in China last Sunday, ahead of two matches scheduled against Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs this week – one today, one on Sunday.
But Saudi Arabia-based Al Nassr announced overnight that both games were off, Reuters has reported.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 38, apologised to his fans – acknowledging a “problem” that meant he wasn’t up to playing. Reuters said he was struggling with a fitness issue, which Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post described as a muscle injury to his left calf.
“I have played for 22 years and I am a player that doesn’t have too many injuries,” the Portuguese forward said.
“So I’m really sad because Al-Nassr and myself have come to China to enjoy the tour … Unfortunately, I have some problem, but this is part of football and my life.”
Al Nassr confirmed that both matches would be rescheduled “as soon as possible.”
It described Shenzhen as “a city that has warmly welcomed us and shown so much love for us and our captain,” noting that it was willing to complete a training camp in the city as planned.
The team had been set to face Shanghai Shenhua today and Zhejiang Pro on Sunday. Both games were to be played at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre Stadium.