Cristiano Ronaldo’s latest manager, Rudi Garcia, has defended him amid his recent challenges, saying all he wants for the Portuguese is for him to ‘enjoy his football and smile’.
The forward has endured a difficult few months which saw him leave Manchester United following his controversial interview about the club and former teammates.
He also suffered some setbacks at the World cup, which started brightly but ended with him being dropped to the bench for Portugal’s two knockout ties, leading to his fallout with the then-national team boss Fernando Santos.
Ronaldo and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez also suffered the tragedy of losing a baby boy in April when they were expecting twins.
Speaking of his role at the Saudi Arabian club, Garcia stressed that all he wanted to see was the Portuguese smiling and enjoying being on the pitch again.
‘The only thing I want is for him to enjoy playing football again and smile,’ the Frenchman said.
‘In recent months, between United, the national team, and private life, he has not had an easy time. If he regains the pleasure of playing, our objective will be fulfilled.’
Garcia’s comments come amid speculation of when Ronaldo might make his debut for the club.
The Portuguese was in attendance to watch his new team-mates brush aside Al-Ta’ee 2-0 on Friday evening to maintain their grip on the top of the Saudi Pro League.
He was unable to play due to a worldwide two-match ban handed down by the FA for smashing an Everton fan’s phone.
His debut for the Saudi side could come against Paris Saint-Germain and fellow Saudi Arabia ambassador Lionel Messi later this month after it was confirmed that Ronaldo would again not take to the field for Al-Nassr against Al-Shabab this weekend.
‘It [his debut] won’t be with the Al Nassr jersey,’ Garcia said (via L’Equipe). ‘It will be a mix between Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr.
‘As the coach of Al Nassr, I cannot be happy with this match. For development, to see PSG, to see the great Parisian players, indeed it is a good thing. But we have a championship game three days later.
‘In terms of scheduling, it could have been better thought out. But it’s not a big deal. We are in the lead, we are happy. It is a difficult championship to win, but we intend to do it.’