Record-breaking Ronaldo leads Roshn Saudi League foreign stars who excelled across globe during international break
There may have been no Roshn Saudi League games over the last two weeks, but that does not mean that some of the players have been inactive.
Saudi Arabia played friendlies against Venezuela and Bolivia with a squad made up entirely of domestic-based stars. Foreign players from more than 15 nations were also named in initial squads, elsewhere.
Here is how they got on.
In this international break, the headlines belonged to Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Al Nassr forward returned to Europe and made his 197th appearance for Portugal against Liechtenstein, a new international record for a male footballer, breaking the one set by Bader Al Mutawa.
Interestingly, the Kuwait legend is a former Al Nassr player, spending time on loan in Riyadh back in 2011. It was a fitting handover of a major accolade.
Ronaldo already holds the international goal-scoring record and his two goals against Liechtenstein and then two more against Al Wehda forward Gerson Rodrigues’ Luxembourg in Euro 2024 qualification have taken him to 122 in 198 caps, a phenomenal feat.
There was a focus on the 38-year-old’s record-breaking achievements, but there were other European players from Roshn Saudi League in action.
Ettifaq’s Darko Velkovski and Al Fayha’s Aleksandar Trajkovski started North Macedonia’s competitive win versus Malta.
Al Khaleej’s Sokol Cikalleshi played 75 minutes of Albania’s narrow 1-0 qualifying reversal in Poland. Al Adalah goalkeeper Milan Mijatovic started both Euro 2024 preliminaries when Montenegro beat Bulgaria and lost to Serbia.
REST OF THE WORLD
Abderrazak Hamdallah is currently at the top of the goal-scoring rankings with 15 in the league for Al Ittihad. The striker reported for international duty, but was on the bench as Morocco recorded a historic 2-1 win over Brazil.
He played the last 15 minutes of the 0-0 draw with Peru on Tuesday.
Also on the bench for those two games against South American opposition for Morocco was goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi who can be seen between the sticks for Al Wehda as the newly-promoted club seek to stay in the top tier.
Hamdallah and Mohamedi may have watched much of the Peru clash from the bench, but Al Hilal’s Andre Carrillo was in fine form for the South Americans and also featured in the 2-0 loss to Germany four days earlier. Christofer Gonzales of Al Adalah played the first half against the European team, too.
Al Shabab’s South Korea goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu played in a 2-2 draw against Colombia.
Ahmed Hegazi played 180 minutes as Egypt kicked off their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification campaign with back-to-back wins against Malawi. Al Ittihad team-mate Tarek Hamed also featured, scoring their thunderous first goal in the second game, a 4-0 victory.
Also in African action was Abha goalkeeper Devis Epassy who played both games as Cameroon drew and lost with Namibia.
Damac shot stopper Moustapha Zegba started Monday’s 1-0 win for Algeria at Niger, Al Tai centre forward Guy Mbenza started Congo’s 2-1 reversal at South Sudan on March 23 and club-mate Alfa Semedo started when his Guinea-Bissau shared a win each with Nigeria.
Al Shabab forward Aaron Boupendza started both fixtures when Gabon beat and then lost to Sudan.
Al Wehda centre-back Oscar Duarte started Costa Rica’s 2-1 victory versus Martinique in the CONCACAF Nations League and Al Taawoun playmaker Kaku was a late substitute in Paraguay’s 3-2 friendly loss to Chile.