Ronaldo Saudi move to signal likely end of elite club career

Less than two weeks after great rival Lionel Messi lifted the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr, marking the end of his career in elite club football. It is highly likely that

By agreeing a deal until 2025, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has ended speculation about his future after ending his contract with Manchester United last month.

Ronaldo said, “We are lucky to have won everything we ever wanted to win in European football, and now we feel it is the right time to share our experience in Asia.

Al-Nasr described the deal as “history in the making”, but it may raise questions about Ronaldo’s ambitions at this stage of his career.

Messi eventually won one major trophy evading two men widely regarded as the best players of his generation after leading Argentina to the World Cup in Qatar, but Ronaldo It will be his first time playing outside top-level European football.Career.

According to media reports, the 37-year-old Portugal international could earn up to $200 million a year with the move, but he could not stand a chance to break his record as the all-time top goalscorer in the Champions League. you’ll miss out. 140 goals so far.

Messi has 129 goals in the tournament.

Also, Ronaldo is unlikely to join the collection of the Ballon d’Or, the trophy awarded to the best players in the world.

Messi, meanwhile, will be one of the frontrunners to win the trophy for the eighth time next year, following his World Cup victory.

He also has a chance to win the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain and has won Europe’s top club football award four times with Barcelona.

Ronaldo won the Champions League five times during his time with United and Real Madrid.

Six months ago, after United failed to qualify for this season’s competition, Ronaldo wanted to join the squad playing in the Champions League.

However, the move never materialized as the most serious interest in him came from an unnamed Saudi club.

It’s not known what other serious offers he’s had since becoming a free agent last month, but a move to Al Nasr would be a significant move compared to the level he’s been performing throughout his career. means step down.

Still, this is a major coup for Middle East football, with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund finally trying to improve its international reputation using so-called ‘sportswashing’ after leading the takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United. adds to the discussion on Saudi Arabia’s attempt to

“This is not only making history. This is not only inspiring our club to achieve even greater success, but also our league, our country and future generations, boys and girls. to inspire us to be the best version of ourselves,” Al-Nasr posted on social media.

Ronaldo remains one of football’s biggest global icons, but the move comes at a time when he is facing doubts about his ability to produce the best form at the highest level.

He has scored just three goals for United in 16 appearances this season, one of which has come from the penalty spot.

He became the first male player to score a goal in five World Cup games when he scored a penalty in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Ghana in Qatar, but he lost to Morocco in the quarter-finals. finished the tournament by withdrawing in the final two matches of the .

Messi, by contrast, contributed to Argentina’s third World Cup win, scoring seven goals, including two in the final, which they won on penalties 4-2 against France after a 3-3 draw in extra time. Recorded.

Ronaldo and Messi have compared their accomplishments throughout their careers.

With Messi’s World Cup victory, Messi emulated football greats Pelé and Diego Maradona to win the sport’s highest award.

For many, it would also have given him an edge in his personal rivalry with Ronaldo. .

Ronaldo, meanwhile, has been making headlines in recent months for his off-field antics.

He refused to come on as a substitute against Tottenham in October, leaving him out of United’s first team and forced to practice.

He then conducted an explosive interview with Piers Morgan, criticizing manager Eric ten Hag and United’s owners, the Glazer family.

That led to the termination of his contract, his eventual transfer to Al Nasr and the next chapter of his career, away from the glare of top-flight European football.


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