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Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo set to join Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in 2023 after agreeing contract worth £172 million


Cristiano Ronaldo is set to move to Saudi Arabia from the start of 2023 after agreeing a contract with Al-Nassr.

Talks of a deal being “close” emerged at the end of November and it now appears Ronaldo will play club football outside of Europe for the first time in his career.

According to Spanish outlet Marca, a €200million (£172m) per season deal is “complete” with the Portuguese star expected to sign a two-year contract.

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The initial deal will be around €100m (£86m) with advertisement and sponsorship bringing his wages to a record figure that will see him become the highest paid athlete in sport.

Should the contract be confirmed, it would suggest Ronaldo has no intention of adding to his domestic and European club titles after winning the Champions League five times, the Premier League three times, La Liga and Serie A twice apiece, as well as a number of cup competitions.

There had been reports of Ronaldo returning to Sporting Lisbon, where he started his professional career.

Ronaldo has been a major talking point since the start of the season after he was dropped to the bench by new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Eric ten Hag

Image credit: Eurosport

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Ten Hag’s decision to not start the 37-year-old and asking him to come on in the final minutes during United’s 2-0 win over Tottenham, before Ronaldo refused and walked off before the final whistle, has caused controversy.

Ronaldo was named as captain in United’s 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa which was his last game for the Red Devils.

Then, an interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV emerged, with Ronaldo stating he felt “betrayed” and that Ten Hag “doesn’t show respect” towards him.

He hit out at the club, claiming there had been “no evolution” since his first departure from Old Trafford in 2009.

On November 22, United announced they had terminated Ronaldo’s contract with immediate effect, so Ronaldo has been playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar as a free agent.

He became the first man to score at five different World Cups with his penalty against Ghana in Portugal’s dramatic 3-2 win.

Portugal qualified as group winners, despite a surprising defeat to South Korea, and will play Switzerland in the last 16 on Tuesday.

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