Cristiano Ronaldo’s Move to Al Nassr; What does this Spell for the 5-time Ballon D’or Winner?
A move back to an European team playing top football shouldn’t be ruled out for CR7.
●4th January 2023
Shock waves were sent out to the world last week as renowned football transfer expert, Fabrizio Romano revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo will be joining Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr FC. Ronaldo’s move to the Riyadh based club was a thing of surprise for football lovers, most especially his fans who expected him to get a deal with a decent club in Europe’s top five leagues.
The 37-year-old was unveiled as an Al-Nassr FC player in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday 3rd of January 2023 and will dorn the number seven jersey previously worn by Nigeria international Ahmed Musa. According to Fabrizio Romano, Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with the Knights of Najd is worth $200 million (₦89,710,000,000).
“Cristiano Ronaldo’s guaranteed football salary at Al Nassr will be close to $90m per year. Commercial/sponsorship deals (already approved by Cristiano’s camp) will be included in the agreement to bring the total salary close to $200m.”
This move is coming weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo’s release from Manchester United. The five time world player of the year’s contract with the Red Devils was terminated due to the unpleasant talks heard from the uncensored interview with TalkTV star Pier Morgan. In the interview, which aired in two parts in 2022, Ronaldo said he felt “betrayed” by the club and has “no respect” for manager Erik ten Hag.
A club statement read: “Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect. The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future. Everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”
Following his move to Al-Nassr, many have begun to talk that Ronaldo’s career is over and is going to be out of discussions that concerns top football. The ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher used the comparison of Ronaldo’s great rival Messi’s recent achievements of winning the World Cup to showcase just what a “sad end” the legendary Portuguese player is having to his career. He said: “In some ways, it’s a sad end for him. Two of the greatest players in Messi and Ronaldo – Ronaldo has finished his career during an interview with Piers Morgan and Messi has won the World Cup. It’s not the best way to go out.“
Also speaking on Friday Night Football, former Manchester United captain Gary Neville said the manner of Ronaldo’s exit was sad yet inevitable as he completed a move to Al Nassr.
“For Cristiano Ronaldo, I felt as though he would want to stay, for the rest of this season at least, in one of the big leagues in Europe and score more goals. Potentially find a Champions League club. It tells me that the offer is staggering. Maybe the club that he wanted in Europe didn’t come in for him and this was his option to go for. An element of sadness, in terms of we’ve probably seen the last of Ronaldo playing at the top level.”
However one must remember past antecedents in the world of football and it cannot be swept under the carpet. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham are examples of top footballers who left the mainstream club football for the Major League Soccer (MLS) in America during their mid to late thirties and eventually got back to one of Europe’s top five leagues.
David Beckham joined Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2007/2008 season on a free transfer but got a loan move to AC Milan during the same campaign. Beckham ended up spending a season and a half at San Siro before making a return to the Los Angeles based club.The Englishman after spending three seasons in the MLS joined Paris Saint Germain for free in the 2012/2013 season and ended up winning a title. Paris St Germain celebrated their first Ligue 1 title in 19 years following a 1-0 win over Olympique Lyon, with David Beckham winning the tenth league title of his career.
Speaking of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he returned from Los Angeles Galaxy in January 2020 and joined AC Milan. The Swedish star went on to help Milan clinch a domestic league title, eleven years after winning their last. The title in 2022 was his fifth Serie A title.
A move back to an European team playing top football shouldn’t be ruled out for CR7 due to his caliber. According to Spanish Publication Marca, there is a clause in Ronaldo’s contract that permits him to join Newcastle United if they make it to the UEFA Champions League. It, however, remains to be seen, if this will ever materialize.