Former Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr on a sensational £ 175 million-a-year contract following his tumultuous exit from Manchester United in November.
Ronaldo, 37, had been a free agent after leaving United in the wake of his damning and controversial interview with Piers Morgan.
Ronaldo’s deal is understood to be for seven years, with the Portuguese superstar set to play before taking up an ambassadorial role and his payment will increase over time.
His decision to move to Saudi Arabia effectively ends his career at the top level. It is thought Ronaldo had been hoping to secure a switch to a Champions League club but it never materialised.
Part of his role as an ambassador will be to help Saudi Arabia’s joint bid with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup, it has been claimed.
He joins arch-rival Lionel Messi in taking up a promotional position with the gulf nation, which has faced criticism for its human rights record, as well as crackdowns on women’s rights activists, LGBTQ+ people and those who speak out against the rule of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Ronaldo had initially dismissed reports that he was set to sign for the Saudi outfit, with sources close to the player telling Sportsmail it was ‘nonsense’ that a deal had been signed.
Al-Nassr is one of the most successful clubs in Saudi Arabia, having been crowned winners of the country’s top flight nine times, with their most recent triumph coming in 2019.
Ronaldo had admitted rumours of a €350m (£310m) offer for two seasons from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club in the summer were true – an offer he had declined.
Ronaldo had previously been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Napoli after stunning United officials by telling the club he wanted out in the summer transfer window.