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The Roar


'I'm really excited for it': Socceroo defender switches to superstar Saudi setup after A-League loan

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31st January, 2024

Socceroos defender Aziz Behich found out his transfer to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr was on the cards mere hours before his loan move to the Saudi powerhouse was sealed.

The club announced Behich’s move, a loan from Melbourne City until the end of the season, on Tuesday night (Wednesday morning AEDT).

He will head to the Gulf state once the Socceroos’ Asian Cup campaign is over.

“To be honest, it happened fast for myself as well,” Behich said on Wednesday in Doha.

“Just got a call yesterday and then escalated from there. The interest went to offers to City and then for me, it was just an opportunity that I couldn’t pass on. 

“I’m grateful for it. I’m excited for it and I’m thankful for City for letting me take this chance.


“It’s just all happened so soon. So last night was pretty exciting, letting the family know and I didn’t know when it would get released, but they (Al-Nassr) wanted it out as soon as possible. 

“It’s all done and dusted now so once my job’s done here, I think I’ll be able to enjoy that moment.”

The 33-year-old’s signing was announced barely an hour after South Korea beat Saudi Arabia on penalties to tee up an Asian Cup quarter-final clash with the Socceroos.

Ronaldo, one of the best players of all time, will comfortably be the most high-profile teammate of Behich’s career.

Behich will also now be teammates with ex-Liverpool forward Sadio Mane, former Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte and Croatia midfielder Marcelo Brozovic.

“I’ve always admired his (Ronaldo’s) game since since a young age as well,” he said.


“I don’t know how much it’s sunk in right now being in camp and trying to focus here with the job I’ve got to do here and once I get there, I think it’ll really sink in. 

“I’ve played with a lot of (big-name) players in Turkey as well, in Basaksehir especially. 

Ronaldo moves to Saudi Arabia

Aziz Behich’s new teammate at Al-Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo. (Photo by Al Nassr Football Club / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“But these names are massive – what they’ve done in their careers. So I think it’ll really hit me when I get there and get onto the training pitch with them and I’m really excited for it.”

Al-Nassr fans were quick to delight in images and videos of Behich scuffling with Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s great rival, when playing for the Socceroos against Argentina.

Behich’s move was a shock given he had signed a two-year deal with Melbourne City, his hometown club, until the end of next season.

He expects to return to City at the end of the loan deal.


His move overshadowed the A-League Men club’s announcement of the signing of former Socceroos midfielder James Jeggo until the end of 2025-26.

Elsewhere in the ALM on Wednesday, Adelaide confirmed the immediate sale of defender Alexandar Popovic to South Korean first division side Gangwon FC.