Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr want 29-year-old defender involved in Champions League quarter-finals as Aymeric Laporte’s replacement: Reports

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr want Champions League defender

According to reports, Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr want UEFA Champions League defender Jose Maria Gimenez as Aymeric Laporte's replacement.

Laporte joined Al-Alami last summer from Manchester City for a reported €27.5 million fee. He has since made 33 appearances for the Saudi Pro League club, registering three goals and an assist. However, Laporte is reportedly keen on making a return to Europe.

The 29-year-old is a rock at the back for the Knights of Najd. Hence, a worthy replacement is a must in case Laporte leaves. Atletico Madrid's Gimenez could be the perfect answer.

Gimenez, once touted as one of the most promising defenders in world football, has been a regular for Los Rojiblancos during his career. He has so far made 312 appearances for the La Liga giants, scoring 12 goals and providing 11 assists. The Uruguayan has played 27 games this season, including six in the Champions League. He started Atletico's quarter-final first-leg win (2-1) against Borussia Dortmund on April 10.

With Cristiano Ronaldo leading the attack, Al-Nassr have been a formidable goal threat and have already scored 80 goals in the Saudi Pro League this season. While their free-scoring nature has been entertaining and effective, there's room for improvement at the back. They have conceded 34 goals in the league so far in 27 matches.

With Luis Castro's team set to play in competitions like the AFC Champions League next season as well, a solid backline is a must. Laporte potentially leaving could weaken their current setup. Gimenez, though, could be a valuable addition to the team.

Champions League star Bukayo Saka pays homage to Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is no longer in the UEFA Champions League. However, he is the competition's all-time top scorer and arguably the greatest player ever to grace the UCL.

Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, currently playing in the Champions League quarter-final, has revealed that wearing the number 7 shirt reminds him of the Portuguese superstar. Saka said (via GOATTWorld on X):

"[Wearing the no. 7 reminds me of] maybe Cristiano Ronaldo. He has been my role model since I was growing up. He wears the number 7 and it is a dream for me to wear the number 7. I will try to achieve the things he's achieved."

Saka's comments come ahead of Arsenal's UEFA Champions League second-leg showdown against Bayern Munich. With the first leg at the Emirates ending 2-2, fans are in for a stellar showdown at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday (April 17).

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Edited by Parag Jain
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