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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Saudi club hire Luís Castro as new coach

Cristiano Ronaldo got a new club coach on Thursday when Al Nassr announced they hired fellow Portuguese compatriot Luís Castro.

The Saudi Arabian club confirmed the appointment from a preseason training camp in Portugal. The length of the coach’s contract was not disclosed.

Castro is the latest coaching hire this week in the cash-rich Saudi Pro League, following Jorge Jesus at Al Hilal and Steven Gerrard at Al Ettifaq.

Castro, 61, is best known for his two seasons in Ukraine with Shakhtar Donetsk — including home and away wins over Real Madrid in the group stage of the 2020-21 Champions League.

He spent last season in Brazil with Botafogo.

Castro will lead Al Nassr into a qualifying playoff for the Asian Champions League next month after the team finished as runners-up last season in the Saudi Pro League. League winners Al Ittihad were coached by another Portugal native, Nuno Espírito Santo.

Al Nassr were coached last season by Frenchman Rudi Garcia then Dinko Jeličić of Croatia as an interim hire.

Al Nassr are among four top Saudi clubs effectively nationalised last month by being taking into majority ownership by the sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund. PIF claims to have assets of around $700 billion and is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Steve Carr

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