A club from Riyadh will return to play in Tehran after 7 years
Al Nassr and Persepolis will face each other this Tuesday (19th), in Tehran, in the Asian Champions League, the first time in seven years that a Saudi Arabian football team will play in Iran.
Thanks to the various stars present in the Saudi club, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mané, the clash will not only be an important sporting event, but also a political one, as it demonstrates the rapprochement between the two nations.
There have been several other duels between the Saudi and Iranian teams in the past, but they took place on neutral ground, as the relationship between the two countries is delicate due to the dispute for dominance in the region.
The tension, which has lasted for decades and is marked by religious differences, is due to the fact that Iran is majority Shiite, while Saudi Arabia is majority Sunni, meaning they follow different branches of Islam.
Although this has happened gradually, the situation has changed little by little, so much so that the Iranian and Saudi football federations recently reached an agreement to re-establish relations. It is worth noting that this happened a few months after Riyadh and Tehran also resumed their diplomatic relations.
The presence of a Saudi team on Iranian territory is already an important fact, but all this gained even more prominence due to the large number of football stars involved in the match.
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and his teammates in the country was attended by hundreds of people in the Iranian capital, so much so that some fans even climbed a mountain to try to see the Al Nassr players.
Despite the great celebration triggered by the presence of the Saudis, the team led by Luís Castro will face one of the main Iranian clubs and finalists of the Asian Champions League in 2018, when they were defeated by the Japanese Kashima Antlers. Furthermore, the country is extremely passionate about football.
Al Nassr’s steps will be repeated between 2 and 3 October by Al Ittihad and Al Hilal, who will also face their Iranian rivals away from home. Karim Benzema’s team will face Sepahan, in Eshfahan, while the club led by Neymar will face Nassaji Mazandaran, in Tehran. .
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