Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, the club announced on Friday, December 30, after leaving Manchester United to become a free agent.
Ronaldo left Old Trafford last month after an explosive televised interview in which the 37-year-old forward said he felt betrayed by the club and had no respect for their Dutch boss Erik ten Hag.
Al Nassr published a statement announcing that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will sign a contract through 2025, but did not include any financial information. The media has projected that Ronaldo’s deal is valued above 200 million euros ($214.04 million).
Ronaldo added in the statement, “I am fortunate to have accomplished all I set out to win in European football, and I believe now is the appropriate time to share my knowledge in Asia.”
Ronaldo will come in Saudi Arabia with a plethora of club accolades following a dazzling run at Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018, when he won two LaLiga crowns, two Spanish Cups, four Champions League trophies, and three Club World Cups.
He has scored 451 goals for Real, which is a club record, and more than 800 goals for club and country.
Ronaldo won two Series A championships and one Coppa Italia trophy in three years with Juventus before returning Manchester United, where he had previously won three Premier League titles, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League, and the Club World Cup.
He represented Portugal in Qatar, when he became the first player to score in five World Cups by converting a penalty kick against Ghana in his team’s first Group H match. Morocco eliminated Portugal in the quarterfinal round.
Ronaldo stated that Qatar would likely be his final World Cup, since he intends to retire at the age of 40, with a transfer to Saudi Arabia likely marking the end of the career of one of the game’s best contemporary players with Lionel Messi.
The Saudi Arabian team, which has won nine Saudi Pro Premier League crowns, hopes Ronaldo will help them win a tenth domestic league championship and their first AFC Asian Champions League.
However, the Portuguese attacker will miss his first two domestic games due to a punishment for knocking a fan’s phone out of his hand during United’s April loss at Everton.