‘My work in Europe is done’: Cristiano Ronaldo is unveiled by Saudi’s Al Nassr

Former Manchester United player claims he turned down offers from around the world

Cristiano Ronaldo was officially presented by Al Nassr as the Saudi Arabian club’s superstar new signing on Tuesday and said he had turned down multiple offers from Europe and North America.

The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to play in the Saudi Pro League in one of the more surprising transfers in recent history. Ronaldo, who has won five Ballon d’Or awards and five Champions League titles, will play outside Europe for the first time.

“I’m so proud to make this big decision in my life. In Europe my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. This is a new challenge,” Ronaldo said.

The Portuguese was due to be presented to fans later at the 25,000-capacity Mrsool Park in Riyadh, which will become his new home after agreeing a deal reportedly worth up to €200m (£177m) a year once commercial agreements are included, making him the highest-paid footballer in history.


“I’m a unique player,” he said. “I beat all the records there. I want to beat a few records here. This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal. I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I know the league is very competitive, I saw many games … I’m ready to keep playing football.”

He said he turned down other offers from different teams around the world. “Nobody knows this, but I had many opportunities in Europe, Brazil, Australia, America, Portugal, many clubs tried to sign me. I gave my word to this club. I want to give a different vision of this country and football. This is why I took this opportunity.”

Excitement built throughout the day before Ronaldo’s introduction, with fans making their way to the stadium early. Large video screens on the exterior walls of the ground showed him in Al Nassr’s yellow and blue shirt.

The 37-year-old Portugal international had his contract with United terminated in November after conducting an explosive TV interview in which he criticised the manager, Erik ten Hag, and the club’s owners, the Glazer family.

Al Nassr, the 18-time Saudi champions, made an offer to Ronaldo during the World Cup, but the deal was not confirmed until December 30th. Ronaldo flew to Riyadh’s King Khalid International airport on Monday, where he and his family were greeted by fans before undergoing medical tests at Mrsool Park on Tuesday.

The transfer is expected to heap unprecedented focus on Saudi football before a potential bid to stage the World Cup in 2030, as well as on Al Nassr, a club little known outside Asia. For Ronaldo, however, it probably brings the curtain down on his career in elite club football.

He will aim to win a league title in a fourth different country after winning seven domestic championships in England, Spain and Italy. Al Nassr play Al Ta’ee on Thursday, but it unclear if Ronaldo will make his debut so soon after completing his move.