Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Fans flock to see Cristiano Ronaldo in Iran, but Champions League match will be behind closed doors

Iranian football fans have flocked to get a glimpse of Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of an AFC Champions League clash.

Al Nassr are in Tehran to take on Iranian champions Persepolis in the group stage after defeating Shabab Al Ahli in the play-off round.

Sky SportsIranian fans set off on foot to get a glimpse of Ronaldo on the Al Nassr team bus[/caption]

Sky SportsThey followed the bus to the Al Nassr team hotel and chanted Ronaldo’s name[/caption]

Ronaldo is among the star names in Asian football right now, meaning that it was no surprise to see supporters fighting to get a glimpse of the 38-year-old.

This included fans chasing the Al Nassr team bus, while the Associated Press also reported that hundreds of locals stormed the Espinas Palace Hotel where the team are staying while pushing past police and chanting Ronaldo’s name in the process.

Unfortunately for those supporters, it’s as close as they’re likely to get to the Portuguese superstar with the AFC Champions League clash set to be played behind-closed-doors.

Despite the match being played at the 78,000-capacity Azadi Stadium, Persepolis are serving a one-match stadium ban due to a controversial social media post.

Ahead of their meeting with Indian club FC Goa back in the 2021/22, a now-deleted post mentioned Iran’s invasion of India in the 18th century in order to hype up the fixture.

People in India took offence to the post and the All India Football Federation’s complaint led to the Asian Football Confederation issuing the punishment.

Despite the incident happening two years ago, this will be Persepolis’s first continental fixture after failing to qualify for the AFC Champions League last season, meaning that it will be the first chance to serve the stadium ban.

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