By James Gamble •
Updated: 05 Dec 2022 • 15:25
Ex-Real Madrid and Man United footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo
According to sports newspaper Marca, the Portuguese footballer has decided to leave European football for the Middle East and will join Al-Nassr in the Saudi capital of Riyadh from January 1, 2023.
The 37-year-old, from the Portuguese island of Madeira, is said to have agreed a two-and-a-half-season deal with the Saudi team currently sitting second in the Saudi Pro League.
Ronaldo, currently playing at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, left his former club Manchester United just two days before the tournament, following a controversial interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised both the way the club was run as well as Dutch manager Eric ten Hag.
Marca report that the father-of-five’s contract at Al-Nassr, with additional payments and advertising revenue, will be worth around €200m-per-season – making him the highest paid athlete in the world.
The astronomical salary will dwarf both Lionel Messi and Neymar’s seasonal wages at French club Paris St Germain, at €75m and €70m respectively.
Ronaldo, who became the first player to score in five World Cups after netting in Portugal’s opening match in Qatar against Ghana, has scored nearly 500 goals at club level for Sporting Lisbon, Real Madrid, Juventus and over two spells at Manchester United.
He will play under French manager Rudi Garcia at Al-Nassr, alongside Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, Brazilian Luis Gustavo and Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar.
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