RONALDO JOINS SAUDI ARABIAN FOOTBALL CLUB AL-NASSR
Star football player and five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for $200 million a year with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr, the club announced on social media. The move comes after he exited Manchester United in November last year to become a free agent.
“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, Al-Nassr said in a statement.
“This is more than just history in the making," stated Al-Nassr FC President Musalli Al Muammar after signing the star athlete.
Ronaldo, 37, said the time was ripe to share his experience in Asia- he has previously played for Sporting CP, Real Madrid, and Juventus, and is leaving Europe for the first time in his career.
"I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia," Ronaldo said in a statement.
Sources say the athlete has agreed to a two-and-a-half-year contract until 2025, making it the longest-duration contract in sports history.
Ronaldo’s contract with Manchester United was terminated after his inflammatory interview, stating that he felt “betrayed” by his club and had no respect for his coach. “I love Manchester United and I adore the supporters, that will never ever change. However, it appears that the moment has come for me to look for a new challenge,” the football star had said.
He dismissed claims that the football club didn’t want him anymore.
“What the press keeps saying, the nonsense, is that nobody wants me, which is entirely false. How can they not want a guy who scored 32 goals last year with the national team?" he had said.
Ronaldo had previously stated in an interview that Qatar would be his final World Cup since he wanted to retire at 40. However, a transfer to Saudi Arabia will strengthen his position as one of the leading contemporary players alongside Lionel Messi.
Reports claimed that Ronaldo would share the Al Nasir locker room with Cameroon star Vincent Aboubakar, who scored the game-winning goal against Brazil last month.
Al-Nassr was founded in 1955. Its home pitch is Mrsool Park, its home colours yellow and blue.
The club’s Instagram following increased to 5.4 million followers and counting from 800 thousand after the announcement. The post announcing Ronaldo's arrival has become their most-liked post on Instagram, with 31 million likes.
Sources had said that the Saudi Arabian team that has won one Saudi pro premier league trophy is expecting Ronaldo may help them win another domestic title and their first AFC Asian Champion League. With Ronaldo on board, the team's value is expected to skyrocket. Ronaldo leads the all-time scoring records with 819 goals scored in club football and over 100 in international play.