Cristiano Ronaldo and Al-Nassr were left stunned when WWE icon The Undertaker appearanced before their Riyadh Season Cup final.
WWE legend The Undertaker made a surprise appearance at the Riyadh Season Cup final in Saudi Arabia, leaving football star Cristiano Ronaldo and his Al-Nassr teammates stunned.
Ronaldo and Al-Nassr were beaten 2-0 by Saudi Pro League title rivals Al-Hilal at Kingdom Arena, but Ronaldo was all smiles before the match thanks to the wrestling icon’s unexpected cameo.
The Undertaker emerged from the tunnel to his theme music, wearing his iconic black coat and hat, as he made his way to the centre circle. Flanked by men wearing hooded black coats with fire torches, “The Deadman”, whose real name is Mark Calaway, stood in front of a plinth and lifted the Riyadh Season Cup trophy aloft.
Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal defeated Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami 6-0 and 4-3 respectively to book their place in the exhibition game. As The Undertaker raised the trophy in his signature ominous style, former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus superstar Ronaldo could not hold back the laughter as he was left bemused by the scene in front of him.
The camera caught Ronaldo chuckling with his teammates as they stood lined up next to the officials before the game started. The Undertaker retired from professional wrestling in 2020 after a stellar career, playing a part in many of WWE’s most famous matches and events. He still shows up on WWE shows occasionally, but his days competing in the squared circle are over.
Roy Keane heaped praise on Chelsea at both half-time and full-time after they beat Aston Villa 3-1.
The Blues and their boss Mauricio Pochettino came into the FA Cup fourth round replay at Villa Park under huge pressure following Sunday’s dire 4-2 defeat to Wolves.
However, against their in-form opponents – who beat Sheffield United 5-0 at the weekend – Chelsea started quickly, going 1-0 up after a superb finish from Conor Gallagher which capped a fine team move.
Nicolas Jackson made it 2-0, heading home after a delightful cross from Malo Gusto as the Chelsea supporters at Villa Park were sent into dreamland.
And Keane, speaking at half-time on ITV, lauded the first half performance by Pochettino’s side.
“It’s like the old Chelsea,’ he said. “Brilliant, strong, physical and sharp in possession. Good decision-making, two quality goals.
“They have been excellent. Hunting in packs, working in numbers, and they are playing like a team tonight.
“It was a nice bit of composure and a beautiful strike from Gallagher and they’ve been everything you want as a team. Simple but quality.
“The (second goal) is lovely, it’s great quality all round. We questioned Jackson’s finishing pre-game but again it’s a lovely goal.”
He continued: “We’ve questioned Chelsea, but now we question Villa and let’s see what they’ve got. We’re certainly not writing them off and that chance before half time is a warning.
“Villa need something, the Chelsea midfield have been outstanding but Villa need a spark.”
Following the first half display, Enzo Fernandez made it 3-0 early in the second half with a sublime free kick.
Moussa Diaby scored a late consolation, but the Blues ran out 3-1 winners and they will now host Leeds in the fifth round.
And, speaking at full-time, Keane reaffirmed his praise for a performance that Pochettino described as the best of his tenure.
He added: “A brilliant night for Chelsea. They were strong and aggressive, showed quality, and scored three great goals.
“It’s everything you want away from home. There are question marks over Villa and they never turned up tonight.
“Chelsea grew in confidence as the game went on and, it’s amazing this game… it drives you mad. We were praising Villa and saying it was crisis at Chelsea ahead of the game.
“Then they go and play like that. They have to kick on and take it in to the rest of season now.
“But what we saw tonight it was as if they were in Villa’s position chasing the top four.”
Chelsea captain Reece James is no longer ‘untouchable’ and the Blues could reportedly listen to ‘big offers’ for the defender, it has been claimed.
Efforts need to be made to balance the books at Stamford Bridge despite the departures of several players over the last year.
James has scarcely featured this season due to a succession of injuries. A hamstring problem is likely to keep the 24-year-old sidelined for the next two months.
He has only played in eight Premier League matches this season, with Chelsea struggling in his absence. Pochettino made the England international the club captain last summer but he has been unable to take on the responsibility much this term.
When reports of a move to Real Madrid surfaced in the summer, it was claimed that James was ‘untouchable’ and the Blues would not consider a sale. However, it is now believed that Chelsea have U-turned on that stance.
According to Chelsea journalist Simon Phillips, the west Londoners could listen to mammoth offers for James if they are received. Selling academy graduates is helping the club attempt to navigate Financial Fair Play and profit and sustainability regulations.
Any money received for academy players counts as ‘pure profit’ on a club’s accounts. That helps to strike off expenditure.
It is why Chelsea have prioritised selling players who have progressed through their youth ranks in recent years, although it has not been an entirely popular choice with supporters. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all departed in the last year.
Reports suggest that right-back James could leave if a major proposal is received. It is unclear if interest from Madrid remains, with the Spanish giants seeking a replacement for long-serving defender Dani Carvajal.
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is reportedly very keen on landing an elite striker in the summer and is eyeing up Brentford’s Ivan Toney to fit that bill.
The Red Devils brought in Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta at the beginning of the season but are already considering adding further firepower to Ten Hag’s arsenal.
The Daily Star claim that Ten Hag is personally keeping tabs on Toney ahead of a potential summer move. The England striker has made his intentions clear that he wants to depart Brentford at the end of the season, with a year then left on his contract even Bees boss Thomas Frank admitted that it would be unlikely that he stays.
Several top Premier League clubs hold an interest in Toney, with United set to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham as they hope to prise him out of London. But Brentford’s £100million valuation may prove to be a stumbling block for Sir Jim Ratcliffe.
The INEOS chief and United minority owner is aware that significant funds will have to be spent on recruitment in order to return the club to its former glory.
However, he believes that the 27-year-old is being overvalued and would consider a deal closer to £70m. The Brit is also keen to avoid a bidding war for Toney’s services.
Toney’s lack of experience playing in Europe is a factor in Ratcliffe being disinterested at £100m, while being aware that if the striker completes a four or five-year contract at Old Trafford he would have little re-sale value into his thirties.