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Ighalo’s celebration and Ronaldo’s troubles in Saudi Pro League

Two former Manchester United strikers met face-to-face on Tuesday night as Odion Ighalo’s Al-Hilal tackled Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in a mouth-watering Saudi Pro League showdown.

After three straight winless league games, Al-Hilal looked doomed against title-bidding Al-Nassr, yet Ighalo stepped up to the plate and rubbed his side’s victory in Ronaldo’s face.

The 33-year-old slotted home two spot-kicks on either side of half-time to propel the Leaders to a 2-0 home triumph and throw a spanner in the works of the Knights of Najd’s title chase.

In addition to handing Al-Ittihad a golden opportunity to go six points clear at the Saudi Pro League summit, Ighalo seized the occasion to take a dig at Al-Nassr superstar Ronaldo.

He sprinted down to the corner flag, fell to his knees and raised his hands to the sky in a classic Lionel Messi celebration, a gesture that clearly provoked the ex-Man United and Real Madrid talisman.

Ighalo’s goal celebration added insult to injury as not only had the Nigeria international robbed Al-Nassr of crucial three points but also moved top of the Saudi Pro League scoring charts with 18 goals.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s 11-goal tally sees him lag seven behind the 33-year-old Nigerian as his frustration in the Middle East grows with each week passing, with his team now scoreless in back-to-back matches.

The 38-year-old left Old Trafford after the 2022 World Cup to join Al-Nassr in a blockbuster deal, but he may have deeply regretted his decision.

If Ighalo’s inflammatory celebration wasn’t enough to knock the Portuguese ace off his perch, Messi’s goal in Paris Saint-Germain’s 3-1 win over Lens last weekend could have done enough.

The Argentine is now the highest goalscorer in Europe’s top-five leagues, leapfrogging his arch-nemesis Ronaldo, who continues to struggle in Saudi Arabia.

Maybe it’s time for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to take one last dance in Europe.