December 31, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed joining Al Nassr in a €200m per year deal to become the highest paid footballer in history
Ronaldo, 37, had been a free agent after leaving United in the wake of his damning and controversial interview with Piers Morgan.
Here’s Cristiano Ronaldo with Al Nassr shirt after contract signed until June 2025. His agreement is valid for two years and half and his total salary will be close to €200m per year, but this includes commercial deal. It’s the biggest salary ever in football.
According to reports in Spain, Ronaldo’s deal is for seven years, with the Portuguese superstar set to play for two-and-a-half years before taking up an ambassadorial role and his payment will increase over time.
His decision to move to Saudi Arabia effectively ends his career at the top level. It is thought Ronaldo had been hoping to secure a switch to a Champions League club but it never materialised.
Part of his role as an ambassador will be to help Saudi Arabia’s joint bid with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup, it has been claimed.
He joins arch rival Lionel Messi in taking up a promotional position with the gulf nation, which has faced criticism for its human rights record, as well as crackdowns on women’s rights activists, LGBTQ+ people and those who speak out against the rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Al-Nassr are one of the most successful clubs in Saudi Arabia, having being crowned winners of the country’s top flight nine times, with their most recent triumph coming in 2019.
Ronaldo left United in November – having returned to Old Trafford to much fanfare last September – in an acrimonious departure following his incendiary interview with Morgan.
His exit following a mixed second spell at the club was agreed by mutual consent but Sportsmail revealed United did not pay any compensation for the remaining seven months of his £500,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford.
United’s lawyers had been looking to tear up his deal in response to the interview. In the sitdown with Morgan, Ronaldo said he felt betrayed by the club and had no respect for United boss Erik ten Hag.
Ronaldo also took aim at the Glazers’ running of United and his team-mates. The decision to part ways with the Portuguese star came just four days after the second part of the interview aired and was made by Ten Hag, the Glazers, chief executive Richard Arnold and football director John Murtough.
They rejected the idea of more disciplinary action after Ronaldo was dropped and made to train on his own for walking out during the win over Tottenham in October having refusing to come on as a substitute.
Ronaldo’s team-mates had been ambivalent to his inevitable departure and it had been made clear that he would not be welcome back at the club’s Carrington training ground.
Ten Hag hit back at Ronaldo in an interview during the club’s warm-weather training camp in December, with the Dutchman accusing the Portuguese of double-crossing him before eventually leaving the club.
He claimed Ronaldo, who captained United in what proved to be his final United appearance, had stabbed him in the back by waiting for the bombshell interview’s release before telling Ten Hag for the first time that he wanted to quit Old Trafford.
During an hour-long interview at United’s base in Jerez, where Ten Hag and his players had been training during the World Cup break, it was put to the manager that Ronaldo did not have the decency to tell the manager his intentions.