Cristiano Ronaldo’s Crazy Move From Europe’s Top Leagues to Saudi Arabia

Cristiano Ronaldo has left England! For the second time in his prolific career the Portuguese legend has left Manchester United, and terms did not end well. Things at United turned completely sour for CR7 this last year, 2022, and it pushed both the club and player to agree to terminate the GOAT’s contract with the Red Devils. With the FIFA World Cup approaching during that same month, Ronaldo would be headed toward the world’s tournament with no club.

In an interview with Piers Morgan in November, Ronaldo revealed some very harsh information about his club at the time. He talked about how the club had not “evolved” at all since he had originally left them in 2009, and how he saw no improvement in the club. He believed the club was not fit enough to compete in big competitions, and would struggle being able to compete for big trophies within the next couple years. El Bicho also said he felt betrayed and that the club was trying to push him out, causing him to lose respect for many of the people he was surrounded with. Ronaldo said this in the interview, “Yes, I feel betrayed, and I feel that some people don’t want me here.” CR7 believed the club president, the coach, and other staff of the club wanted him out for good. “Not just the coach but the other two or three guys around him.”

After the interview was released in mid-November, Manchester United and the world got a view of what Ronaldo had to say about the club, and many people were unhappy. The club was so enraged by Cristiano’s comments that they decided to completely terminate the remainder of his contract. This opened up many club opportunities for Ronaldo in leagues outside of the top 5 in Europe. Clubs like Al Nassr, Sporting Kansas City, Corinthians, Australian football teams, and many other clubs from different countries all over the world were trying to convince Cristiano to sign for them. First however, the most important thing to Ronaldo: the World Cup. The GOAT had to prove himself this time around. He said he would not talk about his future until after the World Cup, because that was his main focus.

El Bicho stated that if he won the World Cup with Portugal, he would retire from football. Sadly, the World Cup tournament did not go any way in Ronaldo’s favor. He only scored one goal throughout the entire tournament, and was knocked out by strong African side, Morocco, in the quarter-finals. This elimination made Morocco the first African nation to ever qualify for a World Cup semi-final, and they rightly celebrated such an occasion. However, the loss completely shattered CR7’s dreams of ever winning the World Cup with Portugal, as he is now 37, and will be 41 by the next World Cup. The only record he was able to break during the World Cup was being the only player in history to ever participate in five different World Cup tournaments. Only time will tell if the GOAT can make it to one more: the 2026 World Cup, to give the world one last dance in Mexico, USA, and Canada.

Returning home from the tournament, Ronaldo had to decide what his next move would be. He had various offers from clubs, but none were as fulfilling as he or the fans wanted them to be. Mr. Champions wanted to play for a club that gave him the opportunity to play Champions League football, but no clubs within the competition were giving him offers. Things became very tense between Ronaldo and his agent during the time of his decision making, and eventually Cristiano Ronaldo and Jorge Mendes split ways in the end, leaving Ronaldo with no agent and breaking a relationship of over 20 years. This is where the rumors begin to speculate about why Ronaldo decided to make his move to Riyadh, Saudi Arabian side, Al Nassr. 

AL Nassr, a club from Saudi Arabia owned by the same owners as Premier League club, Newcastle United, offered Ronaldo the most lucrative contract of all time. For two and a half years, Ronaldo would earn between $170 million to $200 million per year. No other club in the world could or wanted to match this bid for the Portuguese star, although many tried convincing El Comandante to sign for them. Reports from the media say that in Cristiano’s contract there is a secret clause. The clause would state that if Newcastle United qualified for Champions League football, CR7 would put on a Magpie shirt and join them in the next season. 

The clause is known to be a big speculation, but Newcastle coach, Eddie Howe, has tried putting the rumors to rest by stating that he was not aware of such clause, and he would not want Ronaldo in his squad. “We wish Cristiano all the best in his venture, but from our point of view there’s no truth in that.” Once again, only time will tell what will happen next with the GOAT.

Many fans and people who have heard of Cristiano Ronaldo’s new contract have reasoned that Ronaldo only did the move for the money. The truth behind that was said by Ronaldo himself in his first interview after arriving at his new club and home, after being greeted like a king by the fans. He said to the people that he believes his work in Europe is done. He won every major trophy and played for some of the most important and big clubs in the world. Ronaldo believes now is the time for a new challenge. “I had many opportunities in Europe, many clubs, in Brazil, in Australia, US, even in Portugal. Many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club for the opportunity.” He also stated, “I am a unique player so it is good coming here; I beat all records there so I want to beat a few records here as well.” Ronaldo said that his main goal in Asia was to spread the love and growth of soccer, and help bloom a new generation of soccer to a different side of the world.

Cristiano Ronaldo has left his mark in Europe, the world, football, and our hearts. He has been a role model to millions for a long time, and he will continue to be one for the years to come. CR7 is considered the GOAT in debate with Lionel Messi, and the world will get a chance to see them both play, in what may be the final battle of the GOATs. January 19th will be Ronaldo’s first game for his new club, and everyone is more than excited to see him back on the pitch, battling his bitter rival of the old times.