Cristiano Ronaldo is off to Saudi Arabia, as Al Nassr confirmed the signing of the Portuguese superstar Friday.
His contract is worth close to €200 million per year, with commercial deals included, and will run until June 2025, according to transfer insider Fabrizio Romano. The attacker, without a club since being released by Manchester United, would be playing in the Saudi Pro League past his 40th birthday if he honored the full contract.
Ronaldo reportedly attracted interest from an unnamed Saudi outfit last summer after requesting a transfer from Manchester United. He spurned that opportunity because he wanted to add to his record-breaking tally of 141 Champions League goals and compete for more silverware in Europe. However, no move transpired and Ronaldo eventually left United in November after he made incendiary comments about the club in a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan.
Manchester United said the termination of Ronaldo’s contract was a “mutual agreement.” The veteran marksman followed his disciplinary issues at United with a dispute with then-Portugal head coach Fernando Santos over his substitution during the team’s final group-stage game at the 2022 World Cup. The disagreement resulted in Ronaldo being dropped to Portugal’s bench after starting each of his country’s previous three matches at the tournament.
Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina and Cameroonian striker Vincent Aboubakar already play for Al Nassr after starring in Europe, while Argentine playmaker Pity Martinez joined from Major League Soccer’s Atlanta United in 2020. Rudi Garcia is the head coach after previously overseeing numerous clubs in Europe, including Roma and Marseille.
Ronaldo’s transfer to Saudi Arabia could give the country a sizable boost to its profile before it’s expected to submit an ambitious bid to host the 2030 World Cup.