Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly has found a new team…and a new league.
The Portuguese soccer legend is set to sign a two-and-a-half year contract worth a potential $200 million per season with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr, according to Spain’s national newspaper Marca.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Philadelphia sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Days prior to the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the 37-year-old Ronaldo reached a mutual termination of his contract with Manchester United after he criticized the club and manager Erik ten Hag during a television interview with Piers Morgan.
Marca reported that Ronaldo had been hoping to remain in Europe’s elite club competition, with his former team Manchester United being part of the English Premier League. Ronaldo will begin playing for Al-Nassr on Jan. 1, 2023, per Marca, joining the far-less heralded Saudi Pro League. ESPN reported that Saudi Arabia is hopeful that Ronaldo’s presence in its domestic league would help in the nation’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
Football insider Fabrizio Romano reported Monday morning that Ronaldo is yet to sign or agree to a deal as he focuses on the World Cup.
Ronaldo rose to prominence with United from 2003 to 2009. Following stints with Real Madrid and Juventus, he returned to the team in 2021.
The divorce with Manchester United was the start of a tumultuous period for Ronaldo, who was criticized by Portugal coach Fernando Santos for his reaction to being substituted in the 65th minute of Friday’s World Cup game.
The move came amid Ronaldo’s struggles on the pitch. His lone goal in the 2022 World Cup came on a penalty kick. That made him the first player to score in five different World Cups, but he has otherwise been a non-factor.
Even without their star playing to his standard, Portugal has managed to thrive, finishing atop Group H after wins over Ghana and Uruguay. Portugal is set to face Switzerland in the round of 16 on Tuesday as the team looks to advance to the last eight for the first time since 2006.