Cristiano Ronaldo to be reunited with referee who Lionel Messi helped get booted from World Cup duty
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Cristiano Ronaldo is to be reunited with a familiar face on Thursday for what is his biggest game in an Al Nassr shirt to date.
Nassr play Al Ittihad in a top of the table clash in the Saudi Pro League on Thursday, with Ronaldo's team two points clear after 19 games played.
The 38-year-old will be looking to continue his fine start to life in the Middle East, having netted eight goals in his first six games after joining on a free transfer.
The massive fixture, dubbed the 'Saudi Superclasico' takes place at the King Abdullah Sports City but interestingly, Spanish referee Mateu Lahoz is set to referee the game.
Local media outlets say the Spaniard will take charge, as do AS. He has officiated two games in the Saudi Pro League in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons, dishing out eight yellow card and three red cards.
But Lahoz is an extremely controversial figure after brandishing 18 yellow cards and a red to Denzel Dumfries in a spicy World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and the Netherlands.
That prompted Lionel Messi to call for FIFA to review Lahoz's position and he was then sent home from the World Cup ahead of the four remaining games.
"This match shouldn't have ended as it did. I don't want to talk about the referee because they sanction you, but people watched what happened," Messi said post-match.
"We were afraid before the match because we knew how he was and I think FIFA has to review this, you can't put a referee like him for these matches."
Lahoz found himself in a similar situation after handing out 15 yellow cards and two red cards in the Catalan derby between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
He was then removed from the next round of fixtures and there has been some talk he is to retire at the end of the season.
Lahoz has refereed Ronaldo on many an occasion over the years, with the Portuguese superstar once grabbing his private parts and shouting, "Hey, Mateu!, do you like it, huh?, do you like it?"
Despite this, there has been a suggestion from some Al Ittihad fans that Lahoz and Ronaldo are friends because of pictures of them embracing - with worries that he might treat him favourably in the upcoming match.