Sports

Rousing reception for Al-Hilal heroes in Riyadh

February 13, 2023
Huge jubilant crowd gathered to accord a thunderous reception to the team members.
Huge jubilant crowd gathered to accord a thunderous reception to the team members.

Saudi Gazette Report

RIYADH — Holding their heads high and further elevating the self-esteem of the entire nation, Al-Hilal squad members arrived here on Sunday to a rousing welcome by the Saudi officials and the fans alike.

Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the golden member of Al-Hilal, were among those who led the huge jubilant crowd gathered to accord a thunderous reception to the team members.

Al-Hilal are the runner-up after putting up a brave fight against Real Madrid in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup held in Rabat, Morocco, on Saturday. Al-Hilal lost 3-5 against the star-studded Spanish super club and European champions who became the five-time World Champions in the Club World Cup football. Al-Hilal, the Asian Champions, defeated South American Champions Flamengo of Brazil 3-2 in the semifinals of the Club World Cup.

Speaking on the occasion of the elegant reception ceremony, Salman Al-Faraj, captain of Al-Hilal, thanked the fans and his teammates for bringing laurels to the country, though missed the golden opportunity to emerge as the first Asian Club to win the FIFA Club World Cup. “We thank the fans, all the players and the management for this brilliant achievement,” he said after ascending to the stage next to all his colleagues crowned with silver medals.

In his speech, Salem Al-Dawsary said that Al-Hilal will now focus on retaining the AFC Champions League title. “The most important thing now is to win the AFC Champions League. Our ambition was not to win the silver medal, and we were looking for the first place because we are always the first, and our ambition will not stop at the silver,” he said.

Al-Dawsary, who scored two penalties against Flamengo in the semi-finals, said: “This achievement is not only for Al-Hilal, but also for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Congratulations to everyone who worked for this club and special thanks to the players.”

On his part, Al-Hilal coach the Argentine Ramon Diaz said: “We thank the fans for the support that we got during this tournament. I have nothing but words of appreciation and thanks to the fans, the players, the medical and technical staff, and the club’s management,” he said.

Diaz expressed his immense pride in his players despite defeat to Real Madrid. Al-Hilal ran the European champions close, scoring three goals against five. Reacting to his team’s win over Flamengo in the semifinal Diaz said: "It was a tough, difficult match. But we showed that we have class and deserve to reach the final. Thanks to the people who watched us, we hope we put on a good show,” he added.

Al-Hilal is preparing to face Shabab Al-Ahly Club of the United Arab Emirates in the round of sixteen in the Champions League this month.


February 13, 2023
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