Cristiano Ronaldo team-mate faces Al-Nassr axe as Neymar's Saudi side run into same issue

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Al-Nassr will have to axe a player from their Asian Champions League (ACL) squad due to regulations imposed on the Saudi Arabian club. Cristiano Ronaldo risks losing a valuable team-mate as a result, with Neymar’s new side Al-Hilal facing exactly the same issue after their raft of European signings.

The Asian Football Confederation permits only five players born outside of Asia to be registered in each ACL squad. The guidelines have rarely been a problem in years gone by, but this summer’s relentless Saudi transfer spree has transformed the landscape.

Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Seko Fofana, Marcelo Brozovic and Alex Telles are virtually certain to be the five non-Asian players registered by Al-Nassr for their upcoming ACL campaign, which gets underway with a play-off match this week.

That means Talisca is set to be axed as a result. The Brazilian is unlikely to be best pleased with the outcome, given that he has scored 44 goals in 65 matches for Al-Nassr since joining from Guangzhou Evergrande in 2021.

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar have both moved to Saudi Arabia in the past 12 months (Image: GETTY)

With 21 goals in 27 games last season, Talisca scored at a more prolific rate than Ronaldo. And Sport claim that the saga could see him leave the Saudi club ‘with immediate effect’.

Neymar’s new side, Al-Hilal, are in a similarly sticky situation after making the former Paris Saint-Germain forward one of seven non-Asian signings so far this summer.

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With almost a month remaining until the transfer window in Saudi closes in September 20, Al-Hilal have already splashed out on the Brazilian duo of Neymar and Malcom, Portugal’s Ruben Neves, Serbian pair Aleksandar Mitrovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly and Morocco’s Yassine Bounou.

Under the current regulations two of those players, who all come with solid European pedigree, will have to be axed from Al-Hilal’s AFC squad.

Talisca has long been one of Al-Nassr’s most reliable goalscorers (Image: Getty)

Transfer chaos is ensuing elsewhere in the Saudi Pro League, too, as Al-Ittihad have ditched Jota just one month after signing him from Celtic in a £25million deal.

No formal explanation has been given for the winger’s sudden departure after two goalless appearances, although it has been theorised that the club have taken the decision to make room for an even bigger name.