Cristiano Ronaldo sparks madness after arriving in Iran with Saudi club

TEHRAN (AP) — Hundreds of fans stormed a Tehran hotel on Monday to get a close look at Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo, who was with teammates at Saudi club Al Nasr Arriving in Asia for a Champions League match.

To chants of “Ronaldo, Ronaldo”, fans managed to overwhelm police and fill the corridors and public spaces of the Espian Palace Hotel.

This is Cristiano’s first visit to Iran. Al Nasr will face Iranian club Persepolis in Tehran on Tuesday. The two teams will meet again in the Saudi capital Riyadh on November 27.

Cristiano was one of the first high-profile footballers to accept a lucrative contract offer from a Saudi club. The kingdom, with its vast oil wealth, is investing billions of dollars to transform itself into a sports powerhouse.

These Asian Champions League games are being held after Iran and Saudi Arabia restored diplomatic relations after reaching a deal at the beginning of the year with China as a mediator. The two countries severed ties in 2016 after crowds entered the Saudi diplomatic mission in Iran to protest Saudi Arabia’s execution of a popular Shia cleric.

The 2015 AFC Champions League was the last time Saudi Arabia and Iran faced off at home.

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