Ahead of his official debut in front of tens of thousands of supporters at the Al Nassr club in Saudi Arabia, Portuguese football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo has landed in Riyadh.
The 37-year-old entered the Saudi city late on Monday after concluding a deal worth an estimated 213 million euros, according to state-run television station Al Ekhbariya. The five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or is in town staying at a five-star hotel with a huge entourage. A spokeswoman stated that he brought a huge staff of helpers, including a private security service.
The 25,000-seat Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh will host Ronaldo at 7 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday. Ronaldo departed Manchester United under fire after disparaging the squad in a TV interview. After Portugal was eliminated from the World Cup quarterfinals in nearby Qatar, where his fierce rival Lionel Messi led Argentina to victory, Ronaldo’s illustrious career began its most recent and potentially final phase. Al Nassr expects a full stadium for the unveiling, according to a spokesperson who wished to remain unnamed because he was not allowed to speak to the media.
At 7 p.m. local time (16:00 GMT) on Tuesday, Ronaldo will make an appearance at Al Nassr’s 25,000-seat Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh. Ronaldo departed Manchester United under fire after insulting the squad in a TV interview. Ronaldo’s illustrious career reached its most recent and possibly final chapter weeks after Portugal’s World Cup quarterfinal exit in nearby Qatar, where his fierce rival Lionel Messi won the title with Argentina. Al Nassr expects a packed stadium for the launch, according to a spokesman of the company who requested to remain anonymous since he was not allowed to speak to the media.
One of the biggest wages goes to him. The Portuguese forward reportedly made $33 million at Juventus before accepting a wage cut to return to Manchester United. The oil-rich Saudi Arabia has recently joined Formula One, boxing, and golf in addition to purchasing English club Newcastle United and signing a contract with Ronaldo that runs until June 2025. The nine-time league champion from Saudi Arabia, Al Nassr, called Ronaldo’s signing “more than history in the making” and predicted that he will motivate the rest of the league and possibly the entire nation. Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, the Saudi Arabian minister of sports, tweeted that he would “help the rest of our teams for outstanding deals with worldwide talents swiftly.”
— AlNassr FC (@AlNassrFC_EN) January 2, 2023
With the presentation of Ronaldo by Al Nassr on Tuesday, it is hoped that the country’s international football reputation would move into a new era. Two other notable players at the club are Pity Martinez, the South American player of the year in 2018, and Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, who has played for Arsenal and Napoli in the past. In terms of goals scored, Brazilian Anderson Talisca is in the lead.
Despite its high caliber, the Saudi league does not have a sizable fan base outside of the country; Ronaldo might change that. Hamad al-Montashari, a former Saudi Arabian international, claimed that Ronaldo is “very well known throughout the world, and his athletic accomplishments speak for themselves.” He is a fantastic player and every game he can score three goals. Ronaldo was also received by Al Nassr’s head coach, Rudi Garcia.
The recruitment of a player of Cristiano Ronaldo’s size was described as “fantastic” and “contributing to the development of Saudi football” by the Frenchman, who has managed Lyon and Roma. “His arrival makes us happy. The initial goal is to make an effort to make him feel at home with our team, enjoy representing Al Nassr, and entertain the audience. Al Nassr, a nine-time Saudi Arabian champion, is doing well as the Saudi Professional League nears its midpoint. On Twitter, Coach Garcia praised his players for taking the lead on Saturday thanks to Cameroonian Vincent Aboubaker.