CRISTIANO RONALDO SIGNS WITH SAUDI ARABIAN CLUB AL NASSR
2023-01-04 · 2 min read · Champions League/Soccer
Khalid Alhaj/MB Media via Getty Images
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was officially unveiled by his new Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on Tuesday in Riyadh, explaining he made the move having “won everything” in Europe. Ronaldo will earn an estimated $200 million a year with Al Nassr, according to Saudi state-owned media. The 37-year-old also revealed several clubs from around the world had attempted to sign him.
Al Nassr, the 18-time Saudi champions, made an offer to Ronaldo during the World Cup, but the deal was not confirmed until December 30th. Ronaldo flew to Riyadh’s King Khalid International airport on Monday, where he and his family were greeted by fans before undergoing medical tests at Mrsool Park on Tuesday.
The transfer is expected to heap unprecedented focus on Saudi football before a potential bid to stage the World Cup in 2030, as well as on Al Nassr, a club little known outside Asia. For Ronaldo, however, it probably brings the curtain down on his career in elite club football. A report in Spain claimed that Ronaldo only agreed to play for Al-Nassr with a clause inserted in his contract that would enable him to leave for Newcastle, whose majority owners are the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF). The report also claimed, incorrectly, that Al-Nassr is also owned by the PIF.
Despite a disappointing Qatar 2022 with Portugal, Ronaldo became the first man to score in five World Cups. He started Portugal’s round of 16 and quarterfinal matches on the substitutes bench, losing his place in the starting lineup after manager Fernando Santos opted to play Gonçalo Ramos in his place. That came soon after his high-profile breakup with Manchester United, which was caused by an interview with Piers Morgan where Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the Premier League club.
He will aim to win a league title in a fourth different country after winning seven domestic championships in England, Spain and Italy. Al Nassr plays Al Ta’ee on Thursday, but it is unclear if Ronaldo will make his debut so soon after completing his move.
By: Aaron Cantin