Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo poses for a photo with his shirt on after signing with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr Football Club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 30, 2022.
Al Nasr Football Club/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr club on a deal that runs until June 2025.
Al-Nasr Club wrote in a tweet on its official account in English: “History is taking shape.”
“This signing will not only inspire our club to achieve more success, but also our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. Welcome Cristiano to your new home, Al Nasr.”
The Saudi club quoted Ronaldo as saying that he was “keen to try a new football league in another country.”
The 37-year-old Portuguese captain is a free agent after leaving British club Manchester United after a dramatic fallout with some of his coaches.
The news of Ronaldo’s signing on Friday comes after months of rumors and speculation about his intention to join a Saudi team, with several of them making big offers of hundreds of millions of dollars.
Over the summer, Ronaldo turned down an offer from another Saudi club, Al-Hilal, that would have given him a contract worth about $370 million over several years. At the time, he chose to stay at Manchester United, saying he was happy there.
Numerous outlets have quoted Ronaldo’s salary with wins of around $200 million a year including business deals – which, if confirmed, would be the highest salary ever in the history of the sport.
Senior football journalist Fabrizio Romano described the contract deal in a tweet, calling it “the biggest payday in football history”.
Ronaldo, 37, is the normal retirement age for a professional soccer player, so his signing extends his career with a great financial return. Ronaldo’s contract with Manchester United earned him $605,000 a week. He is one of the highest paid athletes in history.
Winning contract Ronaldo is said to earn more than $1 million a week.
Founded in Riyadh in 1955, Al-Nasr Club is one of the oldest football clubs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and has won nine titles for the Saudi Premier League. The current manager of the team is Frenchman Rudi Garcia, whose biography includes managing high-level European clubs such as Roma, Olympique de Marseille and Lille.
Cristiano Ronaldo scores from a penalty kick for Portugal during the 2022 Qatar World Cup match between Portugal and Ghana on November 24, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
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Saudi clubs are known for their ability to offer large salaries to foreign players, especially as the oil-rich and conservative kingdom builds its sports, entertainment and other industries to attract tourism, talent and investment that will help diversify its economy. Saudi Arabia has submitted a bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo is the top scorer in the history of professional football, with a total of 819 goals in his career until the end of 2022. He scored 450 goals for the Spanish club Real Madrid, 145 goals in 346 matches for Manchester United, and 118 goals for Portugal. team and 101 for the Italian club Juventus.
In addition to Ronaldo’s footballing achievements, there is a massive following on social media – something that will likely be valuable to Saudi Arabia as it seeks to attract more positive attention to the country. Ronaldo became the first athlete to surpass 500 million followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in 2021, and he currently has 525 million followers on Instagram alone.
Ronaldo played his last World Cup final in Qatar 2022, setting a new record as the first man to score in five different FIFA World Cups when he scored the winning goal against Ghana. Then the Portuguese national team was eliminated from the tournament by Morocco.