Cristiano Ronaldo signs for Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday signed for Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia in a deal believed to be worth more than 200 million euros per year

The 37-year-old penned a contract which will take him to June 2025.

"I can't wait to discover a new football league in a different country," said the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus player.

The Portuguese star was pictured on the Al Nassr Twitter feed holding a blue and yellow shirt with his favored No. 7  printed on the back.

Al Nassr has won nine Saudi Arabian league titles, the last in 2019.

Ronaldo heads to the Gulf after a year that saw him relegated to the bench for Portugal and cut adrift by Manchester United. United parted ways with the Portuguese star after the veteran forward gave an explosive TV interview in which he said he felt "betrayed" by the club and had no respect for Dutch manager .

United terminated his contract while Ronaldo was with Portugal at the World Cup.

Ronaldo's quest for a World Cup winners' medal started well as he became the first player to score in five global tournaments when he converted a penalty in the win against Ghana. But he was left out of the starting lineup for the last-16 clash as Portugal ripped Switzerland apart. When Portugal lost to Morocco in the quarterfinals, he started on the bench and ended the tournament in tears.

Ronaldo has long been one of the top-paid players in football.

His salary was a reported 31 million euros at Juventus, although the Turin club's accounts are being investigated for possibly under-reporting what they paid players.  

While he took a pay cut to rejoin United, with reports putting his basic annual salary somewhere between 15 million and 28 million euros, before bonuses, that still made him one of the best-paid players in Europe.

As his relationship with United soured, Ronaldo was linked to a string of Champions League contenders including Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

A return to his first club, Sporting in Lisbon, was also rumored. There was talk of a move to the MLS, where Sporting KC was the club reported to be closest to reaching a deal.

United decided his diminishing contribution coupled with his growing and public dissatisfaction made him a pricey luxury it no longer needed.

For Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo is the latest high-priced sporting jewel acquired to add luster to its international image.

The rebel LIV Golf series has offered huge guaranteed contracts and purses to attract stars.  Dustin Johnson reportedly signed a contract worth up to 125 million dollars and then won more than 35 million, including bonuses, in eight tournaments.

Saudi Arabia has staged heavyweight boxing title bouts, has hosted a Formula One Grand Prix the last two years as well as the Dakar Rally.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia acquired Premier League club Newcastle in 2021 and is being linked with Manchester United.

Ronaldo has long been in competition with Lionel Messi for the titles of greatest player and biggest earner in soccer.

Messi pulled away from Ronaldo on the field by winning a World Cup, but the sums of money the Portuguese star will reportedly receive in Riyadh, far surpasses what the Argentine is making from Paris Saint-Germain. 

Ronaldo has won five Champions League titles (2008, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), league titles in Italy (2019, 2020) with Juventus, in Spain (2012, 2017) with Real Madrid and in England (2007, 2008, 2009) with United.

He is also the top scorer in the Champions League and with the Portuguese national team with whom he won Euro 2016.


© Agence France-Presse
5 comments about "Cristiano Ronaldo signs for Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr".
  1. beautiful game, December 31, 2022 at 6:45 p.m.

    CR7 will lavish himself to the limit with his mega-salary contract, and being the footballing Pasha of Saudi-Arabia.

  2. John Richardson, December 31, 2022 at 7:16 p.m.

    How do we see his games ?

  3. frank schoon replied, December 31, 2022 at 8:10 p.m.

    Try watching the new soccer channel ESPN$$$......

  4. R2 Dad, December 31, 2022 at 7:21 p.m.

    Everyone is going to be unhappy by the end of his first year. Too much money means high expectations, which he won't be able to deliver on. His finishing at United has been poor--maybe he will be able to boss a match in SA but it won't be worth watching. His glory days are far behind him.

  5. frank schoon replied, December 31, 2022 at 8:08 p.m.

    R2, Ronaldo will do just fine for the players and goalies he'll be facing are long ways from the quality players he faced in the EPL when he played for Man Utd.

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