RIYADH – Portuguese superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo completed a move to join Saudi Arabian top-flight outfit – Al Nassr, signing a two-year contract with the club.
It is understood that the 37 year-old put pen to paper on a contract for the Riyadh based club on Friday.
The Portuguese soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo is reported to have signed a deal worth upwards of $200m (about Ugx744b) a year.
Al-Nassr posted a picture on social media of the five-time Ballon d’Or holding up the team’s jersey after Ronaldo signed a deal until June 2025, with the club hailing the move as ‘history in the making.’
The news of Ronaldo’s signing follows months of speculation as to whether the Portuguese would join a Saudi team, as he had already received offers for lucrative Saudi contracts in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“History in the making,” Al Nassr FC posted on its official English Twitter account.
In the summer, Ronaldo turned down an offer from a different Saudi club, Al Hilal, which would have given him a roughly $370m contract over a number of years. A the time, he chose to stay at Manchester United, saying he was happy there.
The deal ends a brief free agency period for Ronaldo, whose contract at Premier League side Manchester United, was terminated last month just before the kick-off of the Fifa World Cup in Qatar.
Sources with knowledge of the negotiations say that Ronaldo has already completed the parts of his medical necessary to sign his contract, while a second set of tests expected to take place next week.
Al Nassr are expected to formally announce the deal, following an away game on Saturday against Al Khaleej.
The deal, comes as consolation for Ronaldo, who had a disappointing World Cup where despite Portugal’s run to the quarter-finals, the superstar lost his place in the starting XI as the tournament entered the knockout stages.
The contact between Ronaldo and Al Nassr began over the summer but the striker was still looking for a destination to ply his trade in Europe and keep him at the pinnacle of the game ahead of November’s World Cup in Qatar. With no offers available, he returned to Old Trafford though the relationship between player and club quickly soured, and now that the World Cup ended, he took the Al Nassr bite as the next stage of his career.
In addition to Ronaldo’s soccer achievements is his immense social media following — something of a likely of high value to the Saudi kingdom as it seeks to draw more positive attention to the country. Ronaldo became the first athlete to surpass a combined 500 million followers Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in 2021, and currently has 525 million Instagram followers alone.
Ronaldo played in his last World Cup during the Qatar 2022 tournament, setting a new record as the first man to score in five different Fifa World Cups when he made the winning goal against Ghana. The Portuguese team was later knocked out of the tournament by Morocco.