Cristiano Ronaldo signs with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr

Raj Kirtikar, Staff Writer

Portuguese football/soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a massive $75 million-per-year deal for two and a half years with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr. Accounting commercial deals, he will earn a staggering $200 million-a-year salary. 

Ronaldo stated in a press conference that he “is so proud to make this big decision in [his] life. In Europe, [his] work is done. [He’s] won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. This is a new challenge”.

Ronaldo was left without a club for weeks after being sacked by Manchester United in November due to an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he discussed problems with the club and its manager. Al-Nassr was one of the first clubs to make a bid for Ronaldo along with a number of clubs around the world from the MLS, Portugal, and Australia. After Portugal, Ronaldo’s home country, was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, Ronaldo had to pick his next club fast and chose the Saudi Club. 

His move to Al-Nassr is shocking, but the Portuguese man is turning 38 this year. Most players in Europe move to an ‘easier’ league in their early thirties and retire around the age of 35. So a move to the Saudi Pro League isn’t too surprising for Ronaldo, as it is his time to step down from the throne. Max Hauptmann (‘24), a student at Green Hope, believes this was the right move for Ronaldo. “He’s already won every single trophy in Europe so he’s conquered it. He’s won the most Champions Leagues, he’s done everything so I think it’s time for him to move on”, stated Hauptmann. “He’s already 37 years old so I think it’s the right move, he can also score a ridiculous amount of goals there”, he added. 

However, there are some who believe that Ronaldo still has a few years of Europe left in him and that the move to Saudi Arabia was not the right decision. Green Hope student Keo Rollin (‘24) stated, “I think Ronaldo can still play at the top level in Europe for a solid 2-3 more years. I mean he scored 25 goals for Man United last year, which was a terrible team, so why can’t he do it again this year”? Rollin added, “He could have easily signed for a club in Portugal like Sporting or Porto and stayed at the top level, but I guess no one can deny being paid 200 million a year.” 

It is the end of an era for football as Cristiano, who is widely considered the greatest of all time, is now at the end of his long career. Although he hasn’t been in the greatest of forms in the last year, his success cannot be forgotten.

At the age of 18, he put himself on the front stage through his transfer from Sporting CP to Manchester United and quickly became a star player. In his six years at United, he won the Champions League, three Premier League titles, one FA Cup title, two English League Cups, two English Super Cups, a Club World Cup, and one Ballon D’or. He then made the move to the Spanish giants, Real Madrid, in 2009. Madrid was where he established himself as one of the ‘GOATs’ and won four Champions League titles, three UEFA Super Cup titles, two La Liga titles, two Spanish Cup titles, two Spanish Super Cup titles, three Club World Cup titles, three UEFA best player in Europe awards, two FIFA Men’s player of the year awards, four Ballon D’ors, and scored 450 goals in 438 appearances. In 2017 Ronaldo said goodbye to Madrid and transferred to Juventus in Italy where he continued to rally goals, scoring 101 goals and winning the Italian Cup and the Italian Super Cup twice. In 2021 Ronaldo made a historic comeback to his former club Manchester United, where he continued to play phenomenally. However, his stay at United didn’t go as aspected as he had problems with the various coaches and was eventually shunned in 2022. 

He has also faced international success winning the Euros with Portugal in 2016, and the Nations League in 2019. He has scored 118 goals for his country, making him the highest international goal scorer of all time. 

While his career ending in Europe brings sadness to many of his fans, spectators should be glad that they got to witness not only such an amazing player but a piece of history. Ronaldo was officially unveiled as an Al-Nassr player on Tuesday, January 3rd in front of thousands of fans and took part in his first training for the club.