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Al Nassr coach explains why Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in his debut

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By Tom Gott

Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia said his team tried too hard to get Cristiano Ronaldo on his debut for the Saudi side.

After serving a ban he incurred in England for slapping the phone out of the hands of an Everton fan, Ronaldo made his much-anticipated Al Nassr debut in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Ettifaq, but failed to find the bottom of the net.

The 37-year-old was handed the captaincy for the match but spent most of the 90 minutes on the sidelines of things, and Garcia admitted his side need to figure out how to play alongside Ronaldo.

“It’s very important that the players play normally and don’t always try to give Cristiano the ball – the coach told reporters – I told them they have to make the right choices on the pitch. Obviously when Cristiano or Talisca are alone and ask for the ball, you have to give it to them. These two players are capable of making a difference.

“Tonight, I think we sometimes had good positions to cross but not enough people in the box – and sometimes no Ronaldo and no Talisca. We need to work on that, have one of them in the box and maybe the other playing outside the box. “

However, Garcia was adamant Ronaldo will arrive soon, even stating that Sunday’s game was the first time in months that the Portugal forward played with a smile on his face.

“Everyone knows Cristiano, he’s won five Ballon d’Ors,” continued Garcia. “He’s one of the best players in the history of football. It’s up to us to make sure we put him in the best conditions. I want him to enjoy playing here and tonight he was happy to play for the first time.”

This article was originally posted on 90min.com as Al Nassr coach explains why Cristiano Ronaldo struggled in his debut.