RIYADH: Al-Hilal’s deadly striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is out to bring down Al-Nassr in the Roshn Saudi League’s first Riyadh derby of the season on Friday.
Mitrovic has scored 11 goals in 12 games since signing from Fulham in the summer — and was recently dubbed “merciless” by Al-Hilal manager Jorge Jesus.
Only Al-Nassr superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is ahead of the Serbian striker in the Saudi top flight’s scoring tables, with 15 goals in 13 league games to date during this campaign.
Al-Hilal will go into Friday night’s derby at the King Fahd International Stadium four points ahead of their Riyadh rivals. However, “merciless Mitrovic” has vowed to keep on the goal-hunting trail.
“I want to score goals all the time and I’ve been lucky to score a lot of goals so far,” he said. “Hopefully there are more to come. It’s my job to score goals. It’s what I do and what I love to do.
“Scoring a goal is something every striker dreams of and every striker wants that feeling, that adrenaline of scoring game by game,” Mitrovic added. “The more you score, the better you feel, and I have scored a lot — I could have scored more, though. It can always be better. There are still a lot of games to play, and big games, such as the derby, so hopefully that’ll include a lot of goals.”
The powerful No. 9 has netted 18 goals in 19 games for Al-Hilal across all competitions this season — the exact same tally as Al-Nassr rival Ronaldo. Mitrovic’s phenomenal scoring record includes two hat-tricks — his memorable Roshn Saudi League treble in the 4-3 triumph over Karim Benzema’s Al-Ittihad, and in the 6-0 win against Mumbai City in the AFC Champions League.
Each goal has been greeted with deafening chants of “Mitro’s on fire,” to the tune of Eurodance classic “Freed From Desire,” from the adoring Al-Hilal fans. Mitrovic is not only delighted that the Al-Hilal faithful have adopted the song from his time in England but is also overjoyed to hear it as often as possible.
“I didn’t expect that but it’s amazing, to be honest — every game it’s a full stadium and I score goals and you can hear a big roar,” he said. “Of course, I like the song. It’s something (I’ve had) since Newcastle and it’s something that every time I score the people sing, so it’s something I’ve gotten used to. I’m glad they’ve adopted this here and always glad to hear it.”
The Riyadh derby between current Roshn Saudi League leaders Al-Hilal and second-placed Al-Nassr kicks off at 9 p.m. Saudi time on Friday. The match at the 68,000-capacity King Fadh International Stadium is sold out, while millions will watch the game as it is broadcast across the globe.