Cristiano Ronaldo presented Tuesday in Riyadh to Al-Nassr supporters

Cristiano Ronaldo will be presented to supporters of his new club on Tuesday. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who played until the World Cup for Manchester United, is due to arrive Monday evening with his family, club spokesman Al-Walid Al-Muhaidib told AFP. He will then join his new club for the final formalities.

He will be welcomed in the Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh (25,000 seats) from 7 p.m. local time.

Contract until 2025

The 37-year-old striker left Manchester with a bang, following a vitriolic interview at the end of November in which he claimed to “no longer respect” his coach Erik ten Hag and also attacked the club’s leaders.

At the World Cup in Qatar, he was then eliminated in the quarter-finals with Portugal, beaten by Morocco (1-0), after playing little.

The recruitment of a world star, with a contract until 2025, is the latest episode in the efforts of opulent Saudi Arabia to position itself in high-level sport, after having hosted F1, boxing or the golf, and bought the English club of Newcastle. Some denounce a strategy of “sportswashing”, an attempt by the conservative regime to push criticism of its human rights record into the background.

After Weah, Xavi…

Before Ronaldo, other celebrities from the world of football had already exercised in the Gulf monarchies, including George Weah, Pep Guardiola and Xavi.

In a tweet, Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal promised to “soon support other (national) clubs seeking quality contracts with international stars”.

Ronaldo has won five Champions Leagues (2008 with United, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 with Real), 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 the Portugal team, he won Euro-2016.

He is also the all-time top scorer in the Champions League, with 140 goals. In Qatar, he became the first man to score at least one but in five consecutive World Cups.


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