Al Nassr Football Club/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will join Saudi club team Al Nasr on a deal that will see him play until June 2025.
“History is being made,” Al Nasr FC wrote on its official English-language Twitter account.
“This will not only inspire our clubs to achieve even greater success, but also encourage our league, our country and future generations, boys and girls, to become the best versions of themselves. Welcome Cristiano to your new home, AlNassrFC.”
The Saudi club quoted Ronaldo as saying he was “eager to experience a new football league in another country”.
The 37-year-old Portuguese team captain is a free agent after leaving major English club Manchester United following a dramatic run-in with some management.
The news that Ronaldo has signed on Friday follows months of rumors and speculation about whether he will join Saudi teams, with multiple teams making sizable offers in the hundreds of millions of dollars. turned down an offer from another Saudi club, Al Hilal. At the time, he said he was happy there and chose to stay at Manchester United.
Several media outlets have put Ronaldo’s annual salary at Al Nasr at around $200 million a year, including commercial contracts. If confirmed, it would be the highest annual salary in sports history.
Prominent football reporter Fabrizio Romano tweeted an overview of the deal, calling it “the biggest salary in football history”.
Ronaldo is 37 years old, reaching the normal retirement age for a professional footballer, so his contract will extend his career and bring significant financial benefits. Ronaldo’s contract at Manchester United earned him an eye-popping $605,000 a week. He is one of the highest paid athletes of all time.
The deal with Al Nasr will reportedly make Ronaldo more than $1 million a week.
Founded in Riyadh in 1955, Al Nasr is one of the oldest football clubs in Saudi Arabia and has won nine titles in the Saudi Premier League. The team’s current manager is French international Rudy Garcia, who has managed top European clubs such as Roma, Olympique de Marseille and Lille.
Cristiano Ronaldo scores from Portugal’s penalty spot during a match between Portugal and Ghana at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in Doha, Qatar, 24 November 2022.
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Saudi clubs are known for being able to offer large salaries to foreign players. As the oil-rich and conservative kingdom builds sports, entertainment and other industries, it attracts tourism, talent and investment that help diversify its economy. Saudi Arabia has bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
Ronaldo is the all-time leading scorer in professional football history, with a total of 819 career goals by the end of 2022. He scored a whopping 450 goals with his Spanish team Real Madrid and with Manchester United he scored 145 goals in 346 appearances. He has represented Portugal 118 times and Italy’s Juventus 101 times.
In addition to Ronaldo’s football achievements, his huge social media following could be of great value to the Kingdom as it seeks to attract more positive attention to the country. Ronaldo will become the first athlete to surpass 500 million followers on his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram combined in 2021, and currently he has 525 million followers on Instagram alone. increase.
Ronaldo made his last World Cup appearance at Qatar 2022 and set a new record by scoring the winning goal against Ghana as the first player to score in five different FIFA World Cups. The Portuguese team was later knocked out of the tournament by Morocco.