Several online ticketing services sold out in a matter of hours as Chinese football fans swarmed to secure tickets for Cristiano Ronaldo’s rare homecoming match on Wednesday.
Ronaldo is incredibly well-liked in China, a country that loves football and has grown tired of the corrupt local game and the poor performances of the national team.
The current team of the Portuguese star, Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia, revealed last month that they would be embarking on a “China Tour” that would include friendlies against Zhejiang FC and Shanghai Shenhua in the southern city of Shenzhen on January 24 of each year.
When the highly sought-after tickets went up for sale online on Wednesday just after 11:00 am (0300 GMT), fans scrambled to get their hands on them.
By the evening, some sites indicated that there were no tickets left.
According to multiple media sources, all seats had sold out “within seconds” save for the two most costly categories.
Amid a sea of dissatisfaction on social media, a few fortunate customers expressed unrestrained happiness.
“On January 24, I will be the happiest girl in the whole world,” wrote one satisfied customer on Weibo.
“Whatever you think of Ronaldo, you can’t deny his greatness as a player,” said another. “Today his China tickets came on sale, and I actually got one!”
Last year, World Champions Argentina defeated Australia 2-0 in a friendly match in Beijing’s Workers’ Stadium thanks to a goal from Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s longtime nemesis. Messi’s goal came after 79 seconds.
The South American maestro’s admirers did not waste any time in making fun of what they saw to be a decreased enthusiasm for Ronaldo’s arrival.
“The fans of Rony must be ecstatic. One Weibo user said, “His replica shirts get cheaper every year, and now they barely have to scramble for tickets.”