Cristiano Ronaldo arrives in Saudi Arabia to be presented with Al-Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo arrives in Saudi Arabia to be presented with Al-Nassr

January 2, 2023, 5:01 PM

January 2, 2023, 5:01 PM

The Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Riyadh on Monday night to be presented on Tuesday to the fans of the Saudi club Al-Nassr, after announcing his signing on Friday, for an estimated salary of 200 million euros (214 million dollars) in two and a half years.

The five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or, who played for Manchester United until the World Cup, landed in the Saudi capital on Monday, according to information offered by state television Al Ekhbariya.

Another source told AFP that Ronaldo and his entourage will temporarily stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, located in the center of Riyadh. “He has come with a large group of assistants and even private security personnel,” this source told AFP.

An important security device was also deployed around the Riyadh airport, with many patrol cars and control posts at the accesses.

The 37-year-old striker left Manchester through the back door, after an interview at the end of November in which he He claimed to “no longer respect” his coach Erik Ten Hag, also attacking the club’s leaders.

In the World Cup in Qatar, he was eliminated in the quarterfinals with Portugal, defeated by Morocco (1-0).

The signing of a world star, with a contract until 2025, is the latest episode in the efforts of rich Saudi Arabia to position itself in high-level sport, after having received F1, boxing or golf, and buying the club English Newcastle. Some denounce a ‘sportswashing’ strategy, an attempt by the conservative regime to push criticism of its balance on human rights into the background.

In a tweet, Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz ben Turki Al-Faisal promised “support other clubs in search of quality contracts with international stars”.

Ronaldo won five Champions Leagues (2008 with Manchester United, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 with Real Madrid), national titles in Italy (2019, 2020) with Juventus, in Spain (2012, 2017) with Real Madrid and in England (2007, 2008, 2009) with Manchester United. With Portugal, he won Euro-2016.

The Portuguese is also the top scorer of all time in the Champions League, with 140 goals. In Qatar, he became the first player to score at least one goal in five consecutive World Cups.

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