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One of the world’s best soccer players is heading to Saudi Arabia.
Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a multi-year deal with the Saudi-based Al-Nassr soccer team after leaving Britain’s Manchester United earlier this year. The new contract is expected to go through 2025, with Ronaldo making $75 million per year, according to ESPN.
RONALDO LEFT MANCHESTER UNITED THIS YEAR
Ronaldo had a public fallout with Man Utd. which eventually led to both parties agreeing to his contract being terminated. The contentious relationship began after a controversial interview the soccer star did with British journalist Piers Morgan. During the interview, Cristiano criticized not only Manchester United, but also the team’s manager Erik ten Hag.
In a statement released by Al-Nassr, Ronaldo said, “I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia. I am looking forward to joining my new teammates and together with them help the Club to achieve success.”
RONALDO IS EXPECTED TO MAKE $75 MILLION PER YEAR
The now 37-year-old soccer and pop culture superstar also had a rough performance during last month’s World Cup where he played for his native country of Portugal. In fact, he was so bad that he was actually benched and didn’t appear until the second half of the quarterfinals round where Portugal lost to Morocco 1-0.
The move to a Saudi-backed team is obviously controversial. One only needs to look at how fans and critics have responded and ridiculed various golfers that left the PGA Tour to join Saudi Arabia’s LIV Golf tour.
Will Ronaldo’s newest move tarnish the soccer star’s reputation? Most likely yes, especially in the near term.
However $75 million is a TON of money for someone whose best playing days are in the past. Clearly Al-Nassr will use him as the face of the franchise and their Saudi Pro League. Ronaldo now has to deal with the backlash that comes with that from a public relations standpoint.
As far as the team itself, Al-Nassr is based in Riyadh and has won the second most top-flight league titles in the country’s history.