‘More than history in the making’
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half year contract, the club announced on Friday, after leaving Manchester United to become a free agent.
Al Nassr issued a statement saying Ronaldo will join on a deal until 2025 but did not disclose any financial details. Ronaldo's contract has been estimated to be worth more than 214 million dollars.
"I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia," Ronaldo said in the statement.
The five-time Ballon D'or winner, who could double his earnings via image rights, said that the vision Al Nassr showed him is "very inspiring."
"I'm thrilled for a new experience in a different league and a different country, the vision that Al Nassr has is very inspiring.
I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and together with them help the Club to achieve success."
The Portuguese star will arrive in Saudi Arabia with a vast collection of club honours after a glittering spell at Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2009-18, which was followed by a successful spell at Juventus and then a return to Manchester United, where he rose to stardom before signing for Real.
Before the recently concluded World Cup, Ronaldo had virtually cut his ties with Manchester United last month following an explosive television interview in which the 37-year-old forward said he felt betrayed by the club and did not respect their Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo said Qatar would probably be his last World Cup as he plans to retire at 40, with a move to Saudi Arabia likely to mark the swansong in the career of one of the game's greatest current players alongside Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo is expected to play a huge role in the Saudi bid for the 2030 World Cup.
"This is more than history in the making," Al Nassr Football Club president Musalli Almuammar said. "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."
The Saudi Arabian club, who have won nine Saudi Pro Premier League titles, are hoping Ronaldo can help them win another domestic league title and a first AFC Asian Champions League.
However, the Portuguese forward will miss his first two domestic games after being banned for knocking a phone out of a fan's hand after United's defeat at Everton in April.