Soccer-Ronaldo marks his 1,200th game in style as Al-Nassr bounce back


Soccer Football - Saudi Pro League - Al Hilal v Al Nassr - King Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia - December 1, 2023 Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

(Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 1,200th professional match with a goal and an assist as he helped his Saudi League side Al-Nassr to get a 4-1 win over Al-Riyadh on Friday.

“Cristiano Ronaldo has now played in 1,200 professional matches,” the Saudi League posted on the X platform, as the former Real Madrid player moved closer to Peter Shilton who leads the list of male players with most official appearances.

The 38-year-old Ronaldo opened the scoring shortly after the half-hour mark when he tapped in a cross from Sadio Mane, who had had a goal disallowed in the first minute of the game.

The Portuguese strengthened his status as the league's top scorer with his 16 goals from the season's 16 matches and helped his team to bounce back following a 3-0 defeat to leaders Al-Hilal last Friday.

"Three more points!" Ronaldo posted on social media. "Thankful to all my team mates who helped me reach my 1,200th match. What a ride but we’re not done yet!"

Three minutes into first-half injury time, Ronaldo assisted on his countryman Otavio’s headed goal.

Al-Nassr’s Brazilian Talisca netted twice in the second half, with a consolation goal from Al-Riyadh’s Andre Gray coming in between.

Al-Nassr are second in the standings with 37 points, seven adrift of Al-Hilal, while Al-Riyadh are 14th with 16 points.

Former England goalkeeper Shilton is acknowledged as the record holder for the most competitive men's professional games, though the total is disputed. Some statistics websites say the tally is 1,390 but Shilton himself, on his X feed, gives it as 1,387.

(Reporting by Taha Mohamed in Cairo; editing by Clare Fallon)

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