Monday, January 30, 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo completes Al Nassr move

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 30 Dec 2022

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Cristiano Ronaldo has completed a transfer to Al Nassr.

Ronaldo was strongly linked with a move to the Saudi Pro League side after his second spell at Manchester United ended in acrimonious fashion in late November.

After falling down the pecking order at United, Ronaldo – who only scored one Premier League goal this season – told Piers Morgan he had no respect for head coach Erik ten Hag in a controversial interview.

That comment, as well as Ronaldo’s declaration that United had “betrayed” him, led the Red Devils to terminate his contact shortly after the start of the World Cup in Qatar.

Al Nassr emerged as frontrunners and on Friday the 37-year-old’s transfer was officially confirmed. Reports have suggested Ronaldo has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal and will earn £62million (€69.9m) per season.

“History in the making,” Al Nassr tweeted.

“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. Welcome @Cristiano to your new home @AlNassrFC.”

Ronaldo’s move is seen as effectively bringing down the curtain on one of the greatest careers in the history of elite European Football.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has lifted the Champions League trophy on five occasions – four times with Real Madrid and once with United, while his tally of 140 goals is the highest recorded in Europe’s premier club competition.

Ronaldo is also Madrid’s all-time top scorer with 450 goals, while he became the highest-scoring player in the history of men’s international football last year – he now has 118 senior goals for Portugal.

However, he has fallen short of those incredible standards in recent months, with a group-stage penalty against Ghana representing his only goal at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, though that did make him the first man to net at five different editions of FIFA’s flagship tournament.

Having been relegated to the role of substitute for Portugal’s last two games, Ronaldo maintained his unwanted record of never scoring in a knockout fixture at the World Cup before watching his great rival Lionel Messi lead Argentina to their third title.

Al Nassr are coached by former Lyon boss Rudi Garcia and count Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar and ex-Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina among their squad.

The Riyadh-based side have won Saudi Arabia’s top flight on nine occasions – a tally only bettered by Al Hilal, who have 18 titles to their name.

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