Shortly after midnight in his new football homeland, Cristiano Ronaldo and Al-Nassr FC announced the sensational transfer: After the inglorious departure from the former heart club Manchester United and the tearful farewell to the World Cup with Portugal, the superstar is now actually drawn to Saudi Arabia. The clubless Ronaldo could not find a new top club in Europe when Al-Nassr FC struck.
"I'm looking forward to a new football league in another country," Ronaldo was quoted as saying, he spoke of a "very inspiring vision" of the club: "Together we will help the team to be more successful."
Ronaldo signed a contract for two and a half years until mid-2025. "History is being made," the club wrote on Twitter about photos showing the 37-year-old Portuguese with the yellow and blue jersey and his legendary number 7.
Saudi Arabia-funded news channel Al-Arabiya had announced the news a few hours earlier, but without naming any sources. Nevertheless, the news made the rounds across England, Italy, Portugal and Spain at lightning speed. And according to broadcaster CBS Sports, the official announcement was not supposed to come until Saturday after Al-Nassr's Saudi Pro League championship game at Al-Khaleej. Ronaldo is said to have already completed the first part of the medical test. After photos of Al-Nassr jerseys with Ronaldo's name and number appeared, the club made the transfer official after midnight (local time).
"This signature will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success, but also our league, our nation and generations to come," Al-Nassr said.
After the stations Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus Turin as well as again Manchester United, Ronaldo's career will probably end without any further major highlights. Financially, he should be more than royally rewarded for his commitment.
Official numbers were not given. He is said to collect 200 million euros as a player for two and a half years. There is also talk of a whopping hand money – because he has no contract, there is no transfer fee.
Because since his noisy departure from Manchester United during his second engagement with the traditional English club, the Portuguese has been without a club. He has therefore been on the market for free since the end of November. Since then, the wildest rumors have been circulating in Ronaldo.
At the World Cup in Qatar, however, he wasn't able to do much self-promotion, but speculation about a possible engagement of the Portuguese in Qatar's neighbor had already begun.
The Spanish sports newspaper "Marca" had reported that Ronaldo should fulfill two and a half years of the contract period as a player and then become ambassador of the World Cup application of the Arab country, which is working together with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup. However, this was not mentioned in the first official announcement.
Even the president of the Saudi Football Association had already campaigned for Ronaldo's commitment. "We would like to have this player in our league," said Yasser al-Missihal: "We want to surprise by signing more top players from all over the world. As an association, we would be more than satisfied.”
For the five-time world footballer, his last World Cup was a big disappointment after he was only used as a substitute by national coach Fernando Santos in the round of 16 and then in the quarter-finals against Morocco. After the end, Ronaldo cried bitter tears. With his new club jersey in hand, the smile returned.