Cristiano Ronaldo Al Nassr: The Move That Shook Football
Cristiano Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr. He was unveiled by the league leaders at their Mrsool Park stadium on Tuesday night in front of 25,000 fans.
The move will see the 37-year-old play outside of Europe for the first time in his career. The former Manchester United striker has won five Champions League titles and is a record-breaking goalscorer.
What is Al Nassr?
Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract, bringing the world’s most expensive player to the country’s top flight. The 37-year-old had been a free agent since his contract with Manchester United was terminated in November and has now signed for one of the most prominent clubs in the Middle East.
The Portuguese star joins a squad that already includes the likes of former Arsenal and Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina, Cameroon World Cup hero Vincent Aboubakar, and Colombian midfielder Luiz Gustavo. He is also expected to take on an ambassadorial role for the kingdom as it prepares to submit a bid to host 2030’s World Cup along with Egypt and Greece.
Al Nassr is nicknamed “The Lions of the Desert” for their winning tradition at home and abroad, having won nine league titles and six King’s Cup trophies. The team is the second most successful side in the country’s history, trailing only Al Hilal with 18 titles. They have also won three Crown Prince’s Cups and three Federation Cups and finished runners-up at the 1995 AFC Champions League.
Although the club is based in Riyadh, it is not owned by the Saudi royal family but is run by an elected board, including President Musalli Al Muammar. Al Nassr’s stadium is Mrsool Park, which holds 25,000 fans and was where the club presented Ronaldo to his new fans on Tuesday.
The wildly popular forward was greeted with chants of his name and No. 7 as he made his way to the stage. The crowd grew even louder when he was shown wearing his new kit, including the club’s iconic yellow and blue.
As a former winner of five Ballon d’Or awards, Ronaldo has been tipped to immediately impact the team. He is expected to add another layer of flair and panache to a squad already known for its high-scoring attacking style. And the signing is expected to put unprecedented focus on Al Nassr and Saudi football ahead of a potential World Cup bid in 2030.
Why has Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Al Nassr?
Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year deal. The move has made the 37-year-old the highest-paid player in football. Ronaldo has been a free agent since leaving Manchester United by mutual consent in November following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
The former Real Madrid star was linked with a move to China but opted for the Saudi League champions instead. He will play in the Roshn Saudi League and is likely to feature in the Asian Football Confederation Champions League as well.
Ronaldo will be based in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Al Nassr is a well-established team with nine Saudi Premier League titles, six King’s Cups, three Crown Prince’s Cups, and three Federation Cups. The club also reached the final of the inaugural Club World Cup in 2000.
Frenchman Rudi Garcia manages them and has several international players in their squad. The signing of Ronaldo will undoubtedly boost the club’s profile in the Middle East and worldwide. The former Portugal forward hopes to add to the club’s trophy cabinet and compete in Europe’s top competitions and the Asian Champions League.
Ronaldo will likely team up with Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar at the club. The duo played together for the country at the 2022 World Cup, with Aboubakar scoring one of the tournament’s best goals with his inch-perfect lob over Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinkovic-Savic in their opening game.
Ronaldo has signed for a club that is considered among the biggest in the region, and he will look to add to their already impressive collection of trophies. He is set to be joined by some other international players, including Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo and former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina.
The signing of Ronaldo has given Al Nassr instant fame worldwide, and the club has to adapt quickly to this newfound attention. The club has already enlisted the services of an outside public relations firm to help deal with the influx of media requests from fans and the global media.
How long is Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr runs until 2025. The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar joined the team after becoming a free agent following his departure from Manchester United last month. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is the most successful player in professional soccer, with 819 goals across his illustrious career. He scored 450 goals for Real Madrid, 145 in 346 games for Manchester United, and 118 for the Portugal national team.
Founded in 1955, Al Nassr is one of the most successful domestic teams in Saudi Arabia. They are based in the capital city of Riyadh and are managed by former Roma and Lyon boss Rudi Garcia. The club has won nine Saudi League titles, second only to rivals Al Hilal’s 18 championships. They also have domestic cups, including six King’s Cups, three Crown Prince’s Cups, and two Saudi Super Cups.
Ronaldo’s arrival at the club has given them instant international fame and brought a huge influx of interest from the media. The club has had to scramble to adapt to its newfound status, with a dedicated public relations team now on hand to handle the huge demand for interviews. The club’s social media accounts have been revamped to be more user-friendly for Western audiences, and their Instagram following has rocketed from 1.2 million to nearly 10 million in the wake of Ronaldo’s arrival.
One of the most significant aspects of Ronaldo’s new contract is a clause allowing him to play in the Champions League once again before his career ends. He has long coveted the opportunity to win a sixth European title, and a return to Europe’s top competition could be just what he needs to rekindle his fire for football.
When will Cristiano Ronaldo make his Al Nassr debut?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first competitive appearance for his new club Al Nassr will occur next week against Ettifaq. The 37-year-old was unveiled by the Saudi Arabian side this week after leaving Manchester United following a bombshell interview in which he slammed the Red Devils. But he will be forced to sit out his first game due to an existing two-match ban from the English FA for smashing an autistic fan’s phone out of his hand after a loss against Everton last year.
Despite being banned from playing, Ronaldo will still debut for the Riyadh-based outfit, just not in a competitive fixture. Instead, he will face Lionel Messi in a friendly on January 19 as part of a combined Al Nassr and Al-Hilal XI.
Ronaldo landed in Riyadh this week and is undergoing his medical before switching to the Arab League champions. He is expected to be fit for the clash with Ettifaq next Tuesday, but he will miss the home game against Al-Ta’ee due to an ongoing ban.
Al-Nassr is currently top of the Saudi Pro League but faces a tough battle with second-placed Al-Shabab. Ronaldo hopes to help them get one step closer to retaining their title as they fight for the top spot in the season’s final stretch.
In the meantime, the former Real Madrid and Juventus star will focus on his club duties as he looks to impress the Saudi fans. Another big match will follow his debut in the form of a Saudi Super Cup clash with the reigning champions Al-Hilal on January 27.