Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled by his new club Al Nassr on Tuesday and the 37-year-old striker wasted no time defending his decision to join the Saudi Pro League.
“I am very proud to make this big decision in my life,” Ronaldo told a press conference. “In Europe, my work is done: I won everything, I played in the biggest clubs and for me, now it’s time for a new challenge in Asia.”
Ronaldo said he had opportunities to sign for “many clubs” in Europe, Brazil, Australia and the United States, but passed on the opportunity to develop football in Saudi Arabia: “I want to give a different view of the country, of football and everyone’s perspective”.
Ronaldo will earn a base salary of $75 million per season with Al Nassr, but through various commercial agreements written into his contract, he is expected to earn close to $200 million per season over the next two years, which the would become the highest. -paid athlete of all time.
“I’m a unique player,” Ronaldo said. “I broke all the records [in Europe] and here I want to win a few. This contract is unique because I am unique, so this is normal.”
Before signing with Al Nassr, Ronaldo was a free agent. In November, he left Manchester United “by mutual consent” after publicly criticizing the club and their manager, Erik ten Hag, in an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan. United paid Juventus $17.7 million in 2021 for Ronaldo.
Most recently, Ronaldo was sat out by Portugal coach Fernando Santos at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He finished the tournament with one goal in five games.
In the two decades Ronaldo played in Europe’s top leagues, Ronaldo won five UEFA Champions League titles, seven domestic league titles and five Ballon d’Or awards.
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