Cristiano Ronaldo described himself as a “distinctive participant” and insisted his profession was not over as he obtained a thunderous welcome at his new membership in Saudi Arabia.
The Portuguese celebrity, 37, stated he had finished all he may in Europe and was hungry for a brand new problem as he was greeted by fireworks and deafening roars at Al Nassr’s Mrsool Park stadium.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, with 5 Champions League titles to his identify, signed for an estimated 200 million euros to June 2025 not lengthy after his acrimonious break up with Manchester United.
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Cristiano Ronaldo throughout his unveiling on the Mrsool Park Stadium within the Saudi capital. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)Source: AFPCristiano Ronaldo greets the followers. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)Source: AFP
“It’s not the top of my profession to come back to Saudi Arabia. This is why I alter and, to be trustworthy, I’m actually not anxious about what folks say,” Ronaldo stated.
“In Europe my work is finished… I had many affords in Europe, many in Brazil, Australia, the US, even in Portugal,” he added.
“Many golf equipment tried to signal me however I gave my phrase to this membership.”
A-League boss Danny Townsend confirmed again in November that he was doing all the things he may to try to lure Ronaldo down beneath.
“Obviously it’s a protracted shot however we’ve definitely acquired a compelling proposition for him right here in Australia to think about,” Townsend informed native radio station SportsFM.
Al Nassr supervisor, Rudi Garcia, Cristiano Ronaldo and President of Al-Nassr Musalli Al-Muammar attend a press convention. (Photo by Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The packed, 25,000-capacity stadium erupted when Ronaldo, wearing Al Nassr’s yellow and blue equipment, walked on the pitch, saluting the group as fireworks and floodlights flashed round him.
His girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez, sporting the standard black abaya or all-covering gown worn by most Saudi girls, adopted at a distance together with Ronaldo’s kids.
“I’m a singular participant. It’s good to come back right here, I broke all of the data there (in Europe) and I wish to break a couple of data right here,” Ronaldo stated earlier.
“I’m coming right here to win, to play, to get pleasure from, to be a part of the success of the nation and tradition of the nation,” he added.
Ronaldo joins the nine-time Saudi champions simply weeks after his departure from United following a TV interview the place he slammed the membership and coach Erik ten Hag.
Al Nassr, the nine-time Saudi league champions, symbolize a major drop in commonplace for the Portuguese ahead who spearheaded title-laden campaigns with United, Real Madrid and Juventus.
Cristiano Ronaldo accompanied by his companion Georgina Rodriguez and his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, greets the group. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)Source: AFP
Oil-rich monarchy Saudi Arabia, which has been snapping up sports activities belongings as a part of a drive to melt its austere picture, is usually accused of “sportswashing”, or utilizing sport to distract consideration from human rights controversies.
Ronaldo arrives simply weeks after the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar, and as Saudi Arabia considers a joint Asia-Africa-Europe bid to host soccer’s greatest event with Egypt and Greece.
Well earlier than his arrival, supporters carrying yellow “Ronaldo 7” flags and blue-and-yellow Al Nassr scarves turned up on the stadium, a few of them in search of tickets.
Adam Seddik, an Al Ittihad fan from Jeddah, stated he drove 900 kilometres (560 miles) to Riyadh to witness the spectacle.
A billboard welcoming Saudi soccer membership al-Nassr’s new ahead Cristiano Ronaldo. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP)Source: AFP
“His presence will elevate the Saudi league worth and its viewership,” stated Seddik.
“He is the best participant on the planet.”
Excitement is at fever-pitch over the arrival of Ronaldo, the highest-profile participant to come back to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf or any nation within the Asian confederation.
Fans queued down the road to purchase Ronaldo’s Al Nassr shirt along with his trademark quantity seven, and Al Nassr’s Instagram web page gained thousands and thousands of recent followers after his signing was made public.
Ronaldo’s signing comes in opposition to the backdrop of a Saudi push into sports activities together with golf, boxing, tennis and F1 in addition to soccer, following the takeover of English Premier League membership Newcastle United final 12 months.
Saudi Arabia, led by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — Ronaldo’s up to date at 37 — will host upcoming editions of the Asian Games and Asian Winter Games, in addition to soccer’s males’s and ladies’s Asian Cups.
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