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It’s now jersey official: Cristiano Ronaldo is a member of the Saudi Arabian soccer club Al Nassr.
The Portuguese soccer great made his debut in front of the club’s fans in what was quite the spectacle.
If you’re a fan of the more traditional, more buttoned-up introductory press conferences, you’re in luck, because they still did one of those.
That one had considerably less fire than when Ronaldo walked onto the pitch for the first time in his full Al Nassr kit.
25,000 fans welcomed him at the club’s home stadium, Mrsool Park in Riyadh, as more pyro blasted into the air than you’d find at a Rammstein show.
You don’t have to be a geography wiz to know it gets a bit dry in the middle east. For as much as the club is paying Ronaldo, hopefully, they have one hell of a sprinkler system at the ready.
Fortunately, everything turned out a-oh-kay
However, those fans had to stand there for quite some time just to catch glimpse of Ronaldo. Some reportedly stood for an hour while ear-numbing techno blasted bounced around the stadium.
I don’t know about you, but there’s not a soccer player alive — or dead — that I would sit through that just to see.
Ronaldo Spoke To The Crowd While The Team Shot Down Rumors Of A “Newcastle Clause”
Ronaldo also took the mic and delivered some remarks.
“I am very proud of this step I’ve taken. My work in Europe is done. I’ve played for the best clubs in Europe and now I am grateful to Saudi Arabia for giving me this opportunity, this new challenge,” he said.
“My family is happy with my decision to come to Saudi Arabia and fully support me. In Saudi Arabia, people are very happy with my arrival and that of my family.”
He didn’t specifically mention his $75 million-a-year deal with the club — which represents a competitive step down from the English Premier League — but let’s assume he was excited about that too.
I would be.
The same day Ronaldo was announced, a Spanish report emerged that alleged Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr included a “Newcastle clause.” This was thought to allow him to play with the EPL team in the event they qualified for the Champions League.
However, those were quickly shot down, with an Al Nassr representative calling those reports “all fake.”
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle