Ronaldo finalizes record-breaking Saudi move
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the highest paid footballer in history after agreeing a bumper deal to sign for Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr until 2025.
The Portuguese, who turns 38 in February, was a free agent after leaving Manchester United by mutual decision in the days after he delivered a scathing assessment of the English football club in an interview with UK television host Piers Morgan.
It has been reported that Ronaldo’s contract is the single biggest deal ever signed by a professional footballer at around $214 million per year.
Ronaldo said upon completion of the move that he is “eager to experience a new football league in a different country”.
“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,” he added.
Announcing the deal, nine-time Saudi Pro League champions Al Nassr said they expect Ronaldo’s influence to be a significant boost to football in the region.
“History in the making,” they wrote on social media.
“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.”
The deal comes several months after Ronaldo turned down a big money offer from another Saudi side, Al Hilal, with the player saying he preferred to stay within European football.
Here’s Cristiano Ronaldo with Al Nassr shirt after contract signed until June 2025 🚨🇵🇹🇸🇦 #Ronaldo▫️ Agreement valid for two years and half;▫️ Total salary will be close to €200m per year, but this includes commercial deal.It’s the biggest salary ever in football. pic.twitter.com/ZnOg8lY6Wb— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 30, 2022
It was reported that Ronaldo and his agent, Jorge Mendes, sounded out several top European clubs to gauge their interest in signing Ronaldo but that none of their preferred options were willing to take on the veteran forward’s massive salary demands.
He left Manchester United with six months remaining on his £500,000 per week contract ($605,000), and a day later was issued with a two-game suspension from domestic club competitions for slapping a phone out of a young fan’s hand while exiting the pitch after United's defeat to Everton in April.
It is understood that this suspension will delay his debut for Al Nassr.
Ronaldo was most recently seen at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar where he became the first man to score in five World Cups in Portugal’s game with Ghana, before losing his place in the starting team ahead of his side’s elimination by Morocco.