Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly agreed to a record-breaking £172.9 million-a-year contract with Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
The 37-year-old had his Manchester United contract terminated earlier this month, following a tumultuous relationship with club chiefs that only worsened when he made several controversial statements in a TV interview with Piers Morgan.
And now Ronaldo is said to have sensationally agreed a two-and-a-half year deal with Al Nassr – worth an eye-watering £172.9 million per year – that will see him play until the age of 40, according to Spanish newspaper outlet Marca.
Sources close to the former Real Madrid and Juventus superstar insist no deal has been signed and that Ronaldo remains focused on the World Cup with his country, but reports in Spain today claim the ‘dizzying figures’ have been agreed.
The Portugal international was pushing for a move away from Old Trafford in the summer, but did not get his wish as he was determined to play Champions League football.
The former Real Madrid star rejected a switch to Saudi last summer, but without any firm interest from Europe’s elite clubs, he looks set to now make the move to the Middle East.
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.
In 2020 and 2021, Al-Nassr may not have won the league, but they managed to win the Saudi Super Cup.
The club, however, have struggled to make a splash on the global scene, but they did compete in the Club World Cup in the 1999-2000 season.
That year they played against Real Madrid in their group, losing 3-1, with Nicolas Anelka and Raul among the scorers for the Spanish giants.
They went on to beat Raja Casablanca 4-3, but lost 2-0 to Brazilian side Corinthians as they missed out on a place in the competition’s knockout stages.
Al-Nassr are currently managed by Frenchman Rudi Garcia, who has previously coached Roma, Marseille, and Lyon.
The Saudi giants also currently have a few big-name stars of the past in the form of former Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina, Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo and Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar – who scored a contender for goal of the tournament at the Qatar World Cup earlier this week.
They play at Mrsool Park, which has a capacity of 25,000, a huge reduction on playing in front of 74,310 at Old Trafford.
Their chairman, Musalli Almuammar, was previously the president of the entire division, the Saudi Pro League, between March 2018 and March 2020.
He now has an advisory role for the General Entertainment Authority, a government department that regulates the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia.
Some of the club’s former coaches will also catch your eye as World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro managed the club for four months between October 2015 and February 2016 before terminating his contract.
Meanwhile, Colombian icon Rene Higuita was the club’s goalkeeping coach from 2011 to 2016.
Higuita pulled off one of the most memorable saves in history when he produced a scorpion kick to keep out Jamie Redknapp’s mishit effort for England at Wembley in 1995.
Another huge factor for Ronaldo might be that Al-Nassr’s backroom staff is said to be predominantly made up of Portuguese, eight of the 12 members.
The same report has also suggested that no club from Europe or the MLS could afford to offer anywhere near such a luxurious offer.
Sportsmail exclusively revealed earlier this month that Ronaldo would kiss goodbye to £16 million after it was confirmed that he has left Manchester United by mutual consent with immediate effect earlier this month following his explosive two-part interview with Morgan on TalkTV.
His departure led to plenty of speculation, although Premier League rivals Chelsea have also cooled their interest in Ronaldo since his bombshell interview where he slammed United’s owner and manager Erik ten Hag.
Source: Daily Mail