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Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr signs Cristiano Ronaldo in ‘$214 million deal’

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia till 2025, the club announced, in a deal believed to be worth more than $214 million.

Al Nassr on Friday posted a picture on social media of Ronaldo holding up the team’s jersey, with the club hailing the deal as “history in the making.”

“I am eager to experience a new football league in a different country,” the club quoted Ronaldo as saying.

“The vision with which Al Nassr operates is very inspiring, and I am delighted to join my teammates, so that together we can help the team achieve greater success,” he added.

“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,” the club’s president Musli Al Muammar said.

The contract gives the 37-year-old Ronaldo a massive payday in what could be the final contract of his career.

Ronaldo will now seemingly see out the last years of his career far away from the spotlight of top European football, as he is by far the biggest name to go play in the Saudi Arabian league. 

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund owns Premier League team Newcastle, and the country is considering a bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Sour divorce with Manchester United

He is coming off a disappointing World Cup where he was benched in the knockout rounds and Portugal lost in the quarterfinals to Morocco. 

The Portuguese star, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, has been a free agent since his second spell with Manchester United ended in a bitter divorce last month.

Ronaldo has won five Champions League titles (2008, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), league titles in Italy (2019, 2020) with Juventus, in Spain (2012, 2017) with Real Madrid and in England (2007, 2008, 2009) with United.

He is also the top scorer in the Champions League and with the Portuguese national team, with whom he won Euro 2016.

But Ronaldo’s time at United ended in acrimony.

Looking to leave the club after the arrival of new coach Erik ten Hag, his time on the pitch was limited.

In a controversial interview in November, just before the World Cup, he hit out at the club, claiming he had been “betrayed”.

United then announced the termination of his contract “by mutual agreement”.

The club decided his diminishing contribution coupled with his growing and public dissatisfaction, made him a pricey luxury they no longer needed. 

Al Nassr have won nine Saudi Arabian league titles, the last in 2019.

READ MORE: Ronaldo’s early exit from Man Utd game ‘unacceptable’ – coach

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