After his exit from Manchester United, football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has received a three-year contract with Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr club worth $225 million following the Qatar World Cup - allowing him to continue playing into his 40s, according to CBS Sports.
Ronaldo is now a free agent after Manchester United terminated his contract recently, and Al Nassr and other Middle Eastern clubs have long been interested in signing him. As the 37-year-old entered his fifth tournament, CBS Sports reported in August that his interest would stretch beyond the World Cup 2022. He had expressed a desire to compete at the best level in Europe. Ronaldo scored in his fifth World Cup during Portugal's opening match against Ghana, breaking another record on the international stage.
Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr believes that Ronaldo would be eager to pioneer new territory after the tournament, and after in-depth discussions with his representation, sources close to the club claim that interest is "stronger than ever." Ronaldo is reportedly being offered terms worth $75 million year, reports UNB.
As a result of the summer's initial contact, it is believed that negotiations are somewhat advanced but are still pending Ronaldo's final choice. According to sources cited by CBS Sports, a transaction would be completed quickly if he decided to accept the offer.
Ronaldo requested to leave Manchester United in the summer, but none of Europe's top teams were eager to give him the opportunity to play in the Champions League. It seems unlikely that the market has expanded among the continent's elite following an explosive interview with Talk TV in which he accused Manchester United of "betraying" him and said he did not respect head coach Erik ten Hag.
One of the most successful clubs in Asia and Saudi Arabia, Al Nassr won nine league championships and advanced to the AFC Champions League final in 1995. Ronaldo has also been connected to their fierce rival Al Hilal. It is believed that Al Nassr's offer is the sole official contract that has been made to the Portugal international, whose future is anticipated to be decided after the Qatar World Cup.
Ronaldo found it difficult to have a significant impact on Manchester United's success after switching from Juventus in the summer of 2021. Despite the fact that he led the team in scoring last season with 24 goals in 38 appearances across all competitions, United dropped from second to sixth in the Premier League. Ronaldo was reduced to a supporting position after Erik ten Hag was hired, starting only four matches in the top division. The veteran striker had been engaged in several other incidents before the interview that caused him to leave, including leaving the field early during a preseason friendly and refusing to enter the game as a substitute in a loss to Tottenham.
Cristiano Ronaldo is known to be an ambitious player who likes to compete at the highest level and win big things, whether on a personal level or for his team. Playing in a completely new territory at the age of nearing 40, where he doesn't have prior experience, could be a real challenge for the Portuguese superstar. But Cristiano always likes to take on challenges, and most often he comes out as a winner. Now, it will be interesting to see whether Ronaldo accepts Saudi club Al Nassr's mammoth $225 million offer after confirming his exit from English club Manchester United last week.