In a deal that had been rumored for weeks, 37-year-old soccer great Christiano Ronaldo has signed a massive two-year deal to play for Saudi Club Al Nassar FC. The news was reported by Saudi-owned television channel Al Arabiya and confirmed by a post on Al Nassar FC’s social media accounts by a showing Ronaldo holding his new jersey and the following statement:
History in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. Welcome@Cristiano to your new home @AlNassrFC
CBS News first reported on the then-in-the-works deal at the end of November, saying it was worth $75 million a year for three years. Many outlets today are still citing that number, but almost all agree it’s a two-year contract that would take Ronaldo to the cusp of his 40s. Some say the total for the deal, with endorsements included, could rise as high as $214 million. Whatever the case, it’s a LOT of money for a player who is already one of the richest athletes in the world.
Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the game’s all-time greats, having won the Ballon d’Or — the trophy awarded to the world’s best player — five times, but consensus is his best years are behind him. That evaluation was made plain by the fact that he, the team’s captain, was made to come off the bench in Portugal’s World Cup Round of 16 game against Switzerland earlier this month. Ronaldo was lalso on the bench for the start of the quarterfinal against Morocco. He played in the second half of that game but failed to score. Morocco won 1-0.
In November, Ronaldo left Manchester United after a bumpy second spell with the team in which he clashed with the club’s new manager and refused to come off the bench. As a result, the 37-year-old made just four starts and scored one goal in EPL play this season.