What they said - RSL matchweek 19

The final round of the Roshn Saudi League for 2023 saw Al Hilal retain their undefeated record at the top of the table, with Al Nassr remaining their nearest challengers after a big 4-1 win over surprise packets Al Taawoun.

With the league now in recess until February due to the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, we take a look back at what was said over the past week of RSL action.

Cristiano Ronaldo finished 2023 as the leading goal scorer in international football, with 54 goals from 59 games, a testament to his tremendous impact since signing for Al Nassr almost exactly one year ago. He spoke about that record after Al Nassr’s 4-1 win over Al Taawoun.

“It was a good year for me, collective and individual too. I scored so many goals, I helped the team a lot with Al Nassr and also the national team. I am really proud, I will continue, I feel good, I feel happy and next year I will try to do it again.”



Former Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte scored his second goal of the season for Al Nassr as they continued their impressive run of form to keep within seven points of Al Hilal. After the win he reflected on their start to the season.


“When I arrived, the team had lost two games already so we were already one of the last teams in the league. Luckily, with or without me, we played very good. The team reacted very good and now we’re in second place, that is what we deserve. But our focus is to see the next objective, that is to reach the first position, but obviously there is a big team in front of us and we will try to take them as soon as possible.”



On the other side, the result was a disappointing one for this season’s surprise packets, Al Taawoun, who took the lead inside the opening 15 minutes courtesy of Aschraf El Mahdioui. But it was a mistake from El Mahdioui early in the second half that gifted Al Nassr a 3-1 lead that he was rueing after the game.

“It was a difficult match, they played very good. We had our moments, we had our chances. But in the second half, we are 2-1 behind and then I make a big mistake. I take all the responsibility for this game, because it’s a crucial mistake and it cannot happen.”


Ettifaq’s poor run of form continued, managing only a 1-1 draw with Al Hazem, making it now just one win in their last 12 RSL matches, a result for which coach Steven Gerrard said he takes full responsibility.

“I take responsibility for the draw. We need significant reinforcements this winter transfer window in multiple positions. Strong signings can change the game and I’ll be laying out my requirements to the club.”


Al Hilal’s remarkable season continued with their 2-0 win over AL Fayha seeing them finish 2023 undefeated in the league after 19 games. With time to rest and recuperate while the AFC Asian Cup takes place, midfielder Sergey Milinkovic-Savic is already looking forward to the resumption of the league in February.


“Another win in the bag!! We close the year UNDEFEATED. See you next year @alhilal”


Al Hilal’s coach, Jorge Jesus, paid tribute to his team but knows the job is far from done as they look to add another RSL title to their trophy cabinet.

“We ended the year in the best way possible! Another victory and no defeats. We know the rest of the championship will be intense, but our determination is stronger than ever. Thank you players, team and of course our fans! Until February.”



Franck Kessie’s sixth goal of the season was one of his most important, coming in the ninth minute of second half stoppage time to secure Al Ahli a crucial 1-0 win over Al Khaleej to keep them clear in third spot and in touch with Al Nassr in second.


“Last game of the year done with a great victory. Very happy about the goal and what an atmosphere guys. Let’s keep it that way in 2024.”