Cristiano Ronaldo Joins Saudi Arabian National Club, Al Nassr
By Hajira Sultana / Arab America Contributing Writer
Portuguese soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo signed with Saudia Arabian club Al Nassr in December of 2022. The news followed months of speculation as to whether he would join a Saudi team, as multiple teams made him lucrative offers. He previously rejected an offer from the Saudi club, Al Hilal, as he was content with staying at Manchester United at the time. However, he became a free agent after his contract with Manchester United was abruptly terminated following his infamous explosive TV interview in which he criticized the club manager and owners.
Al Nassr Football Club
Al Nassr Football Club is a Saudia Arabian football club based out of Riyadh. Established in 1955, it is one of the oldest Saudia Arabian football clubs in history. The club has achieved many feats in the past; they were the first Saudi team to participate in the World Cup in 2000, and have won nine league titles and six King Cup titles- to name a few. The team’s manager is Rudi Garcia, a French professional football manager, and former player. Despite Al Nassr’s success within Saudi Arabia, it trails far behind European soccer teams, including the one Ronaldo was a part of.
Cristiano Ronaldo is widely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time, winning five Ballon d’Or awards, four European Golden Shoes, 32 trophies, and scoring over 800 official senior career goals for his club and country. He was ranked the world’s highest-paid athlete by Forbes in 2016 and 2017, and Time magazine featured him on the list of the most influential people in the world in 2014. His great success has made him an athlete that is sought out by the best teams.
Al Nassr’s New Beginning
Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr spans two and a half years and he will make roughly 200 million USD, or about 1 million dollars a week. With this deal, Ronaldo is set to be the highest-paid soccer player in the world. Many speculate that his time with the Saudi Arabian club will mark the end of his career as he is 37 years old, the usual age of retirement for professional soccer players. He seems to be excited about the new opportunities playing for a country outside of his comfort zone in Europe, spending most of his career there.
His signing was met with excitement all across social media, especially in the Middle East, after the club president Musalli Almuammar’s statement.
“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,” said the club. The club signing Ronaldo depicts the country’s commitment to improving in soccer on an international level, with experts sure that his being on the team will raise their ranks significantly. Ronaldo’s superstar status will bring the team, and the country, to a bigger spotlight as we have already seen in the past few weeks since his transfer had been confirmed.
Cristiano Ronaldo is currently serving a two-match penalty from his last season with Manchester United and is expected to play his first game against Riyadh rivals, Al Shabab, on January 22nd. Al Nassr is also confirmed to play against Paris Saint-Germain in a team friendly on January 19th. Although his official debut will come just days later, fans all across the world are excited to be able to see long-time rivals Ronaldo and Lionel Messi go head to head again.
As both Cristiano Ronaldo and the club, Al Nassr, are excited about his future on the team, stay tuned to hear about the upcoming games!
Check out his exciting welcome to Riyadh in the clip below!
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