Cristiano Ronaldo was presented as the superstar new signing of Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on Tuesday of this week, with the team’s president saying the Portugal great deserves to be the highest paid player on the planet.
Ronaldo said he turned down “many clubs” around the world to complete one of the most surprising transfers in the sport’s history, which could reportedly earn him up to $200 million a year.
However Al Nassr president Musalli Almuammar would not confirm the exact figures in the two-and-a-half-year contract.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward will play in the Saudi Pro League after rejecting offers from Europe, North America and beyond.
Ronaldo said at a news conference, that he is proud to make this big decision in his life.
The 37-year-old Portugal international, who has won five Ballon d’Or awards for the best player in the world and five Champions League titles, will play outside of Europe for the first time in his storied career.
Ronaldo had his contract with United terminated in November after conducting an explosive TV interview in which he criticized manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners, the Glazer family.
Al Nassr, the 18-time Saudi champions, made an offer to him during the World Cup, which was held in Qatar in November and December. However, the deal was not confirmed until Dec. 30.
The hugely ambitious transfer is expected to heap unprecedented focus on Saudi football ahead of a potential bid to stage the World Cup in 2030, as well as on Al Nassr, which is little known outside of Asia.
Last summer he wanted to move to a club that was competing in the Champions League after United failed to qualify for Europe’s biggest club competition.
Despite links with Chelsea, a transfer did not materialize.