Cristiano Ronaldo, who was formally with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, will be joining Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr on a two-and-half-year-deal. On Friday, the 37-year-old Portuguese player signed the deal, which is believed to be worth more than 200 million euros, which will continue till June 2025. The forward was a free agent after his contract at Manchester United was mutually terminated. The ace player’s photo holding a blue and yellow shirt with his favoured number seven printed on the back featured on the Al Nassr Twitter feed.
Al Nassr issued a statement saying the five-time Ballon D’or winner will join on a deal until 2025 but did not disclose any financial details. Ronaldo’s contract has been estimated by media to be worth more than €200 million ($214.04 million).
“This is more than history in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. Welcome @cristiano to your new home @alnassr_fc,” tweeted the Saudi club on Friday. The Saudi Arabian club, who have won nine Saudi Pro Premier League titles, are hoping Ronaldo can help them win another domestic league title and a first AFC Asian Champions League.
After signing the deal, Ronaldo said in a statement: “I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country. The vision of what Al Nassr are doing and developing in Saudi Arabia both in terms of men’s and women’s football is very inspiring. We can see from Saudi Arabia’s recent performance at the World Cup that this is a country with big football ambitions and a lot of potentials.”
As per news reports, Al-Nassr have inserted a separate clause into his new contract, which is quite similar to the deal Lionel Messi signed before. As per a report in Marca, Ronaldo has been asked to become an ambassador for the Saudi bid for the 2030 World Cup as per the contract. The Middle Eastern country is understood to be lining up a joint bid with Egypt and Greece for the right to host the tournament in six years.
Ronaldo will represent Saudi’s image abroad, with his arrival said to be considered a ‘matter of state’. Messi too was the ambassador for Saudi Arabia.
In November, the ace forward left Manchester United following an explosive television interview in which the forward said he felt betrayed by the Old Trafford club and did not respect their Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo has had a successful run at different clubs after playing for Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2009-18 where he won two La Liga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Champions League titles and three Club World Cups. He went on to score a club record 451 times for Real Madrid and has more than 800 senior goals overall for club and country.
Ronaldo claimed two Serie A titles and a Copa Italia trophy in three years at Juventus before rejoining United with whom he had bagged three Premier League crowns, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and Club World Cup.
(With agency inputs)