After an interview with Piers Morgan criticizing Manchester United, Ronaldo terminated his contract with the club in November. This led to many clubs opening their doors to welcome the 37-year-old Portuguese superstar. There were many rumours across the world but Al Nassr saw their opportunity and made an offer to Ronaldo. On Tuesday, Ronaldo shocked the football world as he was officially unveiled by the Saudi Club.
Ronaldo, who has won five Ballon d’Or awards and five Champions League titles, will now play outside Europe for the first time. He will now try to win a title in his fourth different country after winning seven domestic championships in England (Manchester United), Spain (Real Madrid), and Italy (Juventus).
CR7 said it best: "this contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal." Would you expect him to say anything less?
The exact number is unclear. However, his total salary will be close to €200m per year, including a commercial deal. This makes him the highest-paid footballer in history. I mean he had to make some noise considering Messi may have solidified himself as the best footballer of all time with his recent World Cup victory. Let's put a pin in that debate until next time.
There are rumours of a clause in Ronaldo's contract that allows him to go on loan to Newcastle United if they qualify for the Champions League. Eddie Howe's Magpies are currently sitting at 3rd in the table with 34 points after a magnificent season thus far. This seems like a pretty good deal for CR7 considering that the top 4 teams in the Premier League qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season.
I will say, however, that there are many conflicting sources on the validity of this clause, but I would not be surprised if it is true. Hear me out: Newcastle recently became the richest club in the world following their £300m takeover in 2021. In other words, they are now able to afford a player with the star power and ego like Ronaldo. Ronaldo wants to prove, in addition to being the highest-paid footballer, that he is better than Lionel Messi. What better way to show that than competing in the most competitive stage in football?
Let's face it: Saudi Arabia has never been known for their soccer clubs. This recent move by Al Nassr, however, shows that the Pro League is trying to make some progress into the Top 5 (England, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France). With his presence, CR7 will naturally bring publicity to Saudi soccer. This added attention could also help Saudi Arabia solidify their bid for the World Cup in 2030. Along with Greece and Egypt, Saudi Arabia recently submitted a bid to potentially hold the first World Cup in three different continents.
Ronaldo is not getting any younger. Physically, he will not be able to continue to perform like he once was. Thus, it makes sense he made move to a smaller league and take his paycheck just like many aging players do. Look at the bright side, Ronaldo can always say that he made more money than Messi, unless PSG decides to spice things up.
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Matthew Marino is a 2L at Elon University School of Law.