Cristiano Ronaldo has signed with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract worth around £177 million per season. Ronaldo will wear the No. 7 for the club, who have committed to the highest salary ever paid to a footballer.
The deal keeps Ronaldo at the club until the summer of 2025 by which point the five-time Ballon d’Or winner will be 40 years old.
There have been contrasting rumours about a contract clause which could see Ronaldo loaned to Newcastle if the Magpies qualify for the Champions League.
The Portuguese star had previously been pursuing a move to a Champions League club after leaving Manchester United by mutual consent in November.
Al Nassr’s official account referred to Ronaldo as ‘the world’s greatest athlete’ before a post stated: “History in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves.”
Al Nassr Honours
Al Nassr are nine-time champions of the Saudi Pro League, making them the competition’s second-most successful club behind Al Hilal. They have also finished in second place on six occasions, but finished third in 2021-22 and sixth in 2020-21.
In the King’s Cup, Al Nassr have reached the final on 14 occasions, winning six of them. Their most recent triumph in the competition was back in 1990. Only three clubs (Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, Al Ahli) have won more King’s Cups than Al Nassr.
The club is also a three-time winner of the Crown Prince’s Cup and has won the Saudi Federation Cup on three occasions.
Domestically, Al Nassr is one of the most successful clubs. Alongside their silverware in their home country, they have also competed on the continental stage, winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1997-98 and finishing as runners up in AFC Champions League in 1995.
Al Nassr Stadium
Based in Riyadh, Al Nassr have played their home matches at Mrsool Park since 2020. The venue has a 25,000 capacity, but according to FBref, their average attendance for the 2022-23 season is just 5,714 after posting 7,000 in 2021-22.
The stadium was opened in 2015 and renovated in 2020. In 2021, it hosted a match between Barcelona and Boca Juniors to honour Diego Maradona.
While Ronaldo’s arrival will probably see an uptick in attendances, the crowds and atmosphere will be a drastic change from what the Funchal native is accustomed to from his time in Manchester, Madrid and Turin.
Al Nassr Notable Former Players And Managers
Al Nassr might not be the most successful team in Asia or even in Saudi Arabia, but the club has still been home to recognisable names.
Former Benfica manager and current Egypt boss Rui Vitória managed the club for a couple of years, and iconic Colombian René Higuita had a stint as interim manager and goalkeeping coach.
Former Inter midfielder Walter Zenga took charge of the club for a period in 2010. World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner Fabio Cannavaro managed the club in 2015-16.
Current manager Rudi Garcia is a familiar face to fans of European football after spells in charge of Lille, Roma, Marseille and Lyon.
On the pitch, Ronaldo is joined by Vincent Aboubakar, Talisca, Luis Gustavo and David Ospina in the 2022-23 squad.
Denílson, another World Cup winner, also represented Al Nassr for a short period. Barcelona icon Hristo Stoichkov was the first Ballon d’Or winner to play for the club when he made a pair of appearances in 1997-98, scoring once.
Ronaldo is not the first world star to end his career with the Knights of Najd. Don’t be surprised if more big names head to Mrsool Park as the club chase another league title after falling short in each of the last two seasons.
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