Home Sport <strong>Cristiano Ronaldo ‘signs mega deal with Al-Nassr’ worth £350m after ugly Man Utd exit</strong>

Cristiano Ronaldo ‘signs mega deal with Al-Nassr’ worth £350m after ugly Man Utd exit

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<strong>Cristiano Ronaldo ‘signs mega deal with Al-Nassr’ worth £350m after ugly Man Utd exit</strong>

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a deal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr worth £350m over two years. Ronaldo was a free agent for over a month after being released by United during the Qatar World Cup.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner established himself as a club legend during his first spell at Old Trafford but his second spell turned ugly.

Despite impressing in his first season back at United, Ronaldo fell out of favour under new manager Erik ten Hag, refusing to come on in a Premier League match against Tottenham.

Ronaldo then criticised Manchester United boss Ten Hag and the club’s owners in a controversial interview with Piers Morgan, before both parties agreed to cut ties in November.

It quickly became apparent that Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr were the favourites to sign Ronaldo, who unsuccessfully tried to leave United last summer after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

Al Nassr confirmed their deal for Ronaldo on Friday evening, writing in a statement: ‘This is more than history in the making. The forward bided his time over the international break to consider his options, though he now has settled for a stint in Saudi Arabia. A tweet confirming his arrival on the club’s official account read: “The world’s greatest athlete officially signed for Al-Nassr.” 

The Portugal icon is expected to earn £ 175 million a season, with all commercial opportunities and incentives included. Ronaldo was keen to leave United for a European club in the summer, though no offers arrived despite his agent, Jorge Mendes, approaching numerous clubs. Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Atletico Madrid were amongst those to have held talks about the 37-year-old, though his options soon became limited when no concrete offers arrived. 

Thus, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has now settled for becoming one of the highest-paid players in football history. Despite signing for the Saudi giants, Ronaldo has reportedly rejected a clause to become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s 2030 World Cup bid as part of the deal, avoiding the awkward scenario of directly going up against his own country, which is also bidding to host the tournament. 

Ronaldo left United on a sour note earlier this year after a year-and-a-half of controversy at Old Trafford. The striker shone last season, scoring 18 goals in 30 Premier League appearances, though consistently cut a frustrated figure – with it quickly becoming apparent that he would not be able to guide the Red Devils up the table single-handedly. 

Stories of Ronaldo causing internal divides circulated, as well as the former Juventus star approaching the manager to request players are dropped. Though the final straw for the higher powers at United came earlier this year after the once-adored club legend fell out of favour with Erik ten Hag. 

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville was disappointed by the manner of Ronaldo’s exit but said it was the right decision for both the player and the club.

‘The only thing Manchester United could do was draw a line under the Ronaldo affair,’ Neville told Sky Sports. ‘They couldn’t allow the situation to come to this side of the World Cup, it needed to be put to bed.

‘It’s sad it’s ended this way but it was inevitable, it had to finish. He will go on and play football elsewhere and hopefully do really well, and Manchester United can move on under Erik ten Hag.’

Author: Andrew Collins

andrewc@gmail.com

London, UK