Ronaldo responds to Saudi mega-deal claims
Cristiano Ronaldo has shot down speculation that he is set to join Saudi club Al Nassr in January on a deal worth €200 million per season ($210 million), telling reporters that the claims are “not true.”
Ronaldo, 37, is currently without a club after leaving Manchester United last month on the back of a bombshell interview with UK TV personality Piers Morgan.
Spanish outlet Marca reported this week that Ronaldo had decided upon his future and would join Saudi side Al Nassr from January 1.
The forward was said to have agreed a two-and-half-year deal which would net him a signing-on fee of almost €100 million before an annual salary of close to €200 million.
But speaking after Portugal’s 6-1 win over Switzerland in the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday – where he was dropped to the substitutes’ bench – Ronaldo denied the speculation.
“No, that’s not true – not true,” the star told reporters when asked about the purported Saudi move.
TV presenter Morgan, whose explosive interview with Ronaldo hastened his Old Trafford exit, had also claimed earlier this week that Marca’s reports were wide of the mark.
According to ESPN, the offer from Al Nassr is “the best and only” one that Ronaldo has on the table, but he has not determined his future and remains focused on Portugal’s World Cup campaign.
Italian transfer specialist Nicolo Schira reported that Ronaldo is still holding out for an offer from a big European club in the hope of playing Champions League football.
According to Schira, money is not an issue for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, and his agent Jorge Mendes is “at work to try to find a solution in Europe.”
Ronaldo was dropped to the bench by Portugal manager Fernando Santos for their last-16 game against Switzerland, watching on as his replacement Goncalo Ramos scored a hat-trick.
Ronaldo was introduced in the 73rd minute at Lusail Stadium, finding the net with a strike that was immediately ruled out for offside.
The Portugal captain briefly saluted fans before making his way down the tunnel while his teammates remained on the pitch.
Portugal are next in action on Saturday, when they face surprise package Morocco in the quarterfinals.