Cristiano Ronaldo joins Saudi club Al-Nassr

RIYADH, 31 Dec 2022:

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr FC yesterday announced Cristiano Ronaldo will join the club next month on a two-year contract.

“The world’s greatest athlete officially signed,” the Riyadh-based side said on Twitter – posting photos of the Portuguese star holding an Al-Nassr shirt emblazoned with his name and No 7.

“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,” read a subsequent tweet.

The announcement put an end to weeks of speculation about where the five-time Ballon d’Or would end up after a messy parting of the ways with Manchester United.

Ronaldo’s biting criticism of United coach Erik ten Hag and club management in a television interview made his continued presence at Old Trafford and his contract was terminated “by mutual agreement.”

The 37-year-old striker saw limited action with Portugal at the World Cup and his free-agent status failed to bring any offers from European clubs.

“I’m thrilled for a new experience in a different league and a different country, the vision that Al Nassr has is very inspiring,” Ronaldo said Friday. “I’m very excited to join my teammates, and to help the team to achieve more success.”

Media accounts indicate that Ronaldo will receive a base salary of US$75 million a year with a possibility to earn more than US$200 million annually overall with endorsement deals.

Al-Nassr have won the Saudi first-division title on nine occasions.