Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has said he is ‘excited’ to join the ‘inspiring’ Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-year contract.
The club announced detailed of the contract on Friday with the five-time Ballon D’or winner of Portugal, one of the most successful footballers of all time, now set to undergo a medical at Mrsool Park, the home to Al Nassr, before completing formalities and being revealed to fans in the club’s yellow and blue colours in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh in coming days.
“I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country,” said Ronaldo, in a statement issued by the club. “The vision of what Al Nassr are doing and developing in Saudi Arabia both in terms of men’s and women’s football is very inspiring.”
“We can see from Saudi Arabia’s recent performance at the World Cup that this is a country with big football ambitions and a lot of potential.”
“I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia. I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and together with them help the Club to achieve success.”
Ronaldo’s contract has been estimated by media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($214.04 million).
Al Nassr Football Club President Musalli Almuammar said: ”This is more than history in the making. 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.”
“He is a special footballer and a special person whose impact is felt far beyond football. Cristiano is joining a club with big ambitions, a competitive club amongst the very best in Asia and will be welcomed to a country that is making massive progress on and off the pitch with opportunities for all.”
“But first and foremost, we can’t wait to see him in the number 7 shirt of Al Nassr doing what he does best, scoring goals, winning titles and bringing joy to those who love the beautiful game.”
Ronaldo departed Old Trafford last month following an explosive television interview in which the 37-year-old forward said he felt betrayed by the club and did not respect their Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo will arrive in Saudi Arabia with a vast collection of club honours after a glittering spell at Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2009-18 where he won two LaLiga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Champions League titles and three Club World Cups.
He went on to score a club record 451 times for Real and has more than 800 senior goals overall for club and country.
Ronaldo claimed two Serie A titles and a Copa Italia trophy in three years at Juventus before rejoining United with whom he had bagged three Premier League crowns, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and Club World Cup.
He played for Portugal in Qatar, where he became the first player to score in five World Cups after netting a penalty in his side’s opening Group H game against Ghana. Portugal were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Morocco.
Ronaldo said Qatar would probably be his last World Cup as he plans to retire at 40, with a move to Saudi Arabia likely to mark the swansong in the career one of the game’s greatest current players alongside Lionel Messi.
As the number one sport in Saudi Arabia, football has continued to gain prominence and momentum in recent years especially following the recent victory for the national team over Argentina in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with the entire squad based in Saudi Arabia.