Cristiano Ronaldo’s precipitous decline has been exposed by his move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr, which heralds the end of his reign as one of football’s most feared strikers. Ronaldo is no longer coveted by Europe’s top clubs.
Following the signing of a contract that extends through 2025 and is apparently worth more than 200 million euros, Ronaldo will be formally introduced by Al Nassr on Tuesday.
The 37-year-reduced old’s status as a fallen star who relies on previous valor is at odds with the riches and acclaim that are in store for him in Saudi Arabia, though.
It is a terrible indictment of Ronaldo’s lackluster play over the previous 18 months that he is being forced to play out what will undoubtedly be the final chapter of his illustrious career in the football wasteland of Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, departs for the Gulf after a trying year that saw him benched by Manchester United and demoted to Portugal.
His second stint with United came to an end in November when he left on amicable terms, shortly after blasting manager Erik ten Hag and the club management in a fiery television interview.
Ronaldo was linked to a number of Champions League contenders as his relationship with United deteriorated, including Chelsea, Bayern Munich, and Napoli.
It was also suggested that he would play for Sporting Lisbon again, and there were rumors of his joining Inter Miami, a team owned in part by David Beckham, a former teammate with Manchester United.
But none of those agreements materialized, and when United decided his declining value and public shows of disapproval made him an expensive luxury they no longer required, it was illuminating to observe the lack of a rush to sign the venerable legend.
Ronaldo’s unsuccessful attempt to ultimately win the World Cup highlighted his ascent to the ranks of football’s common mortals as it coincided with his contentious United exit.