It’s Official

It’s Official

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  • Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr on a deal that runs until 2025. The Portugal captain is a free agent after leaving Manchester United following a controversial interview in which he criticised the club. Ronaldo will reportedly receive the biggest football salary in history at more than £177m per year.
  • In the summer, Ronaldo turned down a £305m deal to join another Saudi team – Al Hilal – because he was happy at United. Earlier in November, the striker spoke out in an interview with Piers Morgan for TalkTV in which he said he felt "betrayed" by United, did not respect manager Erik ten Hag and was being forced out of the club. The Saudi Arabian club, who have won nine Saudi Pro Premier League titles, are hoping Ronaldo can help them win another domestic league title and a first at the AFC Asian Champions League.

Why it matters

Saudi clubs are known for their ability to offer foreign players large paychecks, particularly as the oil-rich kingdom builds up its sports, entertainment and other industries to attract tourism, talent and investment that will help diversify its economy. Saudi Arabia has also made a bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. In addition to Ronaldo’s soccer achievements is his immense social media following — something likely of high value to the Saudi Kingdom, as it seeks to draw more positive attention to the country amidst its World Cup bid.

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