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The Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo signs for Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia

Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr is estimated by the media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($214.5 million).

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract, the Saudi club announced.

Ronaldo left Manchester United last month after an explosive television interview in which the 37-year-old forward said he felt betrayed by the club and had no respect for its Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.

Al Nassr posted a photo on social media of Ronaldo on Saturday holding the team’s jersey, with the club hailing the deal as “story in the making.”

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“This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to even greater success, but will inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls, to be the best version of themselves,” said the club in a tweet.

“I am lucky to have won everything I set out to win in European football and now I feel that this is the right time to share my experience in Asia,” Ronaldo said in the statement.

“I am really looking forward to joining my new teammates and together with them helping the Club achieve success.”

Al Nassr issued a statement on Friday saying the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will join a deal until 2025, but did not disclose any financial details. Ronaldo’s contract with the team is estimated by the media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($214.5 million).

Ronaldo will arrive in Saudi Arabia with a vast collection of club honors after a glittering spell at Spanish giant Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018, where he won two LaLiga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Champions League titles and three Club World Cups.

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He went on to score a club record 451 times for Real Madrid and has over 800 senior goals overall for club and country.

Ronaldo claimed two Serie A titles and a Coppa Italia trophy in three years at Juventus before rejoining Manchester United with whom he had won three Premier League crowns, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and the World Cup.

He played for Portugal in Qatar, where he became the first player to score in five World Cups after scoring a penalty in his team’s first Group H game against Ghana.

Portugal were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Morocco and Ronaldo spent a lot of time on the bench, leading to speculation that the footballer’s star status was on the decline.

Ronaldo sitting on the bench, watching the match concentrated while other players next to him talk to each other
Cristiano Ronaldo on the Portuguese bench during the clash of the national team with Morocco at the Al Thumama Stadium on December 10, 2022 [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

Ronaldo said Qatar would likely be his last World Cup as he plans to retire at 40, and the move to Saudi Arabia would likely mark the swan song in the career of one of the best current players in the game alongside Lionel Messi.

“This is more than developing history,” said Al Nassr Football Club president Musalli Almuammar. “This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to even greater success, but will also inspire our league, our nation and future generations.”

The Saudi Arabian club, which has won nine Saudi Pro Premier League titles, is hoping Ronaldo can help them win another domestic league title and their first in the AFC Asian Champions League.

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The Saudi Arabian national team scored its biggest international victory at the World Cup in Qatar last month when it beat eventual champions Argentina in its first group stage match, but then failed to reach the knockout stages of the tournament.


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