Ronaldo breaks Saudi League's single-season scoring record

Al Nassr's Cristiano Ronaldo capped his first full Saudi Pro League season in style as he broke the record for the most goals scored in one campaign on Monday.

The 39-year-old scored a brace in his side's 4-2 win over Al Ittihad on the final matchday to bring his league tally this season to 35 goals.

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Ronaldo wrote on Instagram: "I don't follow the records, the records follow me," and in an interview with SSC he added: "I'm very happy. Firstly because the team won and finished the league well. Then to break a league goal record, I have to confess it makes me very happy, I wasn't expecting it.

"For me it's important. "The most important [thing] is always the team. We are in good shape. We ended the league well and now we have to win the Kings Cup."

The previous record was held by former Al Nassr forward and Moroccan international Abderrazak Hamdallah, who scored 34 goals in 2018-19.

Ronaldo, who played for Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, joined Al Nassr in January 2023.

In the final seconds of the first half, Ronaldo, who had already had two goals ruled out for offside, chested down a long pass from Mohammed Al-Fatil and opened the scoring with a low shot from the left side of the area.

With 21 minutes remaining, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner celebrated wildly after heading home a corner from Marcelo Brozovic. He was substituted off the field five minutes later to a standing ovation from the home fans.

It ended an action-packed season for Ronaldo, who scored four hat tricks and collected one red card. He was also suspended for an obscene gesture in February at Al Shabab fans who had been chanting the name of Lionel Messi, Ronaldo's longstanding soccer rival.

Despite the individual accolades for Ronaldo this campaign, it was a disappointing one for a talented side that boasted other global stars such as Sadio Mane and Brozovic. Al Nassr finished a distant second behind Al Hilal in the league table and failed to win a trophy in the Saudi Cup or Asian Champions League.

Al Hilal were too strong even without Neymar, who joined the club in August from Paris Saint-Germain but suffered a season-ending ACL injury in October.

Aleksandar Mitrovic stepped in and ended the season with a goal in the final seconds to clinch a 2-1 win over Al Wehda. The Serbian striker, signed from London club Fulham last summer, reached 27 league goals, second only to Ronaldo.

On their way to the title, Al Hilal went on a 34-game winning streak in all competitions, a new world record for a top-tier team.

"This season has been truly exceptional for the team, arguably our best ever," coach Jorge Jesus said. "The credit goes to the immense talent within the squad and the incredible sense of unity that transcends both on and off-field interactions."