After being announced as a player for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on Tuesday, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo said his work in Europe is over, adding that he is enjoying new challenges on and off the pitch.
Free agent Ronaldo joined Al Nassr last week on a two-and-a-half-year deal valued at more than $210.94 million by media after a bitter split from Manchester United in November.
Thousands of fans witnessed his unveiling at Al Nasr’s home Mussour Park, where a sea of yellow and blue greeted him.
After speaking at a press conference, Ronaldo was seen meeting his new teammate in the locker room.He then entered the field dressed in the club’s colours. As he roamed the 25,000-seat stadium, signing footballs and kicking into the stands, the assembled fans chanted his name out loud before his family joined him.
“Me and my family, we want to say thank you to all of you for this support and your welcome,” “We’re going to give our best. Thank you everybody.” Ronaldo said emotionally after being handed the microphone.
Ronaldo shined for Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018, winning 2 La Liga, 2 Spanish Cups, 4 Champions Leagues and 3 Club World Cups before being featured in a huge number of clubs. He also returned to United after lifting his two Serie A titles and the Coppa Italia trophy in his three years at Juventus, winning three Premier League crowns, an FA Cup, two League Cups and the Champions League. We can say for sure that Ronaldo arrived in Saudi Arabia with honours.
“I’m so proud to make this big decision in my life. In Europe, my work is done,” Ronaldo told a news conference. “I won everything, I played in the most important clubs in Europe and now it’s a new challenge in Asia.”
“I’m grateful to Al Nassr, for giving me this opportunity to develop football for the younger generation, for the women as well. For me, it’s a challenge, but I also feel very happy and proud,” Ronaldo said. “I can say now, I had many opportunities in Europe, Brazil, Australia and the United States. Even in Portugal, many clubs tried to sign me, but I gave my word to this club, to develop not only football but also the other parts of this country.”
The 37-year-old shrugged when asked about criticism of his move to Saudi Arabia, saying, “I’m a unique player, for me it’s normal.”
Rumours abound about Ronaldo’s transfer, with some claiming his contract contains a side deal allowing him to play for Newcastle United on loan. Other rumours claim that the previous wearer of the Number 7 shirt was released from the team for refusing to exchange shirts.