Ronaldo Leaves European Soccer Behind

Unwelcome at Manchester United, star is out of Premier League
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2022 4:30 PM CST
Cristiano Ronaldo Signs With Saudi Club
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during the World Cup quarterfinal soccer match between Morocco and Portugal, at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 10.   (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Unwanted by English powerhouse Manchester United after he publicly criticized its coach and owners, soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed on a contract with a Saudi Arabian club. "The world's greatest athlete officially signed," Al-Nassr tweeted Friday afternoon. The deal is for $75 million per year for three years. His Manchester United contract ended in November, making Ronaldo a free agent. The move out of the Premier League means that the Portuguese star, 37, will not be competing against the world's best as he plays out his career, CBS Sports reports.

Al-Nassr, which is based in Riyadh, had little competition for Ronaldo's services. Ronaldo will again be joining a successful club: Al-Nassr, which plays in the Saudi Pro League, has the second-most top-tier league titles in Saudi history, per ESPN. The club tweeted that the signing will "inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves." The $225 million total appears to be the most money ever paid to a professional soccer player, per the Guardian. Ronaldo has had two tours with Manchester United, and also has played for Sporting, Real Madrid, and Juventus. (More Cristiano Ronaldo stories.)

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