Al Hilal keep Ronaldo trophy-less in rich Saudi league

Record-breaking Al Hilal sealed their fourth Saudi Pro League title in five years on Saturday, extending Cristiano Ronaldo’s wait for silverware in the big-spending competition.

Al Hilal, who lost Neymar Junior to injury in October, beat bottom-placed Al Hazm 4-1 to go an unbeatable 12 points clear of Ronaldo’s Al Nassr with three matches remaining.

The title seals a formidable campaign by Al Hilal, who remain unbeaten in 31 league matches and put together a run of 34 consecutive wins in all competitions — a record for a top-flight team.

Jorge Jesus’s Riyadh club have now secured bragging rights in the most anticipated Saudi season of all time, after Ronaldo’s arrival in January last year triggered a flood of big-name arrivals.

Neymar, Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez were among the veterans to up sticks for Saudi, the world’s biggest oil exporter, on eye-watering contracts.

The ‘Big Four’ Saudi clubs — Al Hilal, Al Nassr, Benzema’s Al Ittihad and Mahrez’s Al Ahli — are all owned by the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth vehicle that is driving Saudi’s economic diversification from oil.

Al Hilal will look to frustrate Ronaldo, 39, again when they take on city rivals Al Nassr in the King’s Cup final on May 31.



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