According to the Daily Mail on November 30th, the 37-year-old Portuguese superstar has agreed to the terms of a record-breaking contract with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, earning a staggering £172.9 million, equivalent to €200 million per year. With this salary, Ronaldo becomes the best-paid player in the world. Currently, the highest-paid player in the world is Mbappe, who earns £106.74 million per year (according to Forbes in 2022). After completing the World Cup 2022, Ronaldo will make his move to Saudi Arabia, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract. His desire is still to play in Europe, but no club on the continent is willing to acquire CR7 due to his high salary.
Besides the financial aspect, another reason Ronaldo chose the Saudi Arabian team is the presence of many Portuguese individuals in the coaching staff of Al Nassr, who will provide ample support for the 37-year-old star. Ronaldo’s mission is to help Al Nassr compete for the Saudi League title against their long-time rivals, Al-Hilal. Al-Hilal, with 18 Saudi Arabian championships, is the club that rescued the number 7 jersey from Old Trafford for an astonishing £300 million over the past two transfer windows.
Al Nassr has won 9 national championships, 6 King’s Cups, and 3 Prince Cups. However, they have faced difficulties and have not won the domestic cup since 2014. Saudi Arabian football has seen significant progress in recent years. They recently caused a shock at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with a victory over Messi’s Argentina.
Following the victory, the Asian representatives’ fans gathered on the stands. They poured onto the Lusail pitch, mimicking Ronaldo’s trademark celebration by leaping in the air, extending their arms to the sides, and shouting “Siu.” A large wave of fans and Saudi Arabian citizens joined in the celebration, repeating this gesture.
In an interview with Sky News, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, shared, “Which country doesn’t want Ronaldo to play in their tournaments? He and Messi are excellent role models for young players to follow. Therefore, I really hope to see both of them compete in our tournaments. Although the Saudi Arabian league is not one of the most attractive in Asia, we are working every day to develop it further in the future.” He also mentioned his intention to buy back Manchester United and/or Liverpool through the Saudi Arabian national investment fund.
Last year, Ronaldo was offered a role as an ambassador with an annual salary of $7.3 million to promote tourism for Saudi Arabia, but he declined due to time constraints. At present, Ronaldo is focused on the Portuguese national team’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup. He scored the opening goal from a penalty kick in the 3-2 victory over Ghana, becoming the first player in history to score in five World Cup tournaments. Despite his busy schedule, he managed to arrange for a shipping container to move his belongings out of his Manchester residence.
Despite opinions that his performance has gradually declined over time, Ronaldo maintains his fame as the highest-earning athlete in the world, with an estimated income of $60 million, including sponsorship deals with Nike, Herbalife, and Livescore, according to Forbes. In July 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo reached an exclusive multi-year partnership agreement with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, and launched his first NFT collection on November 18th. Ronaldo is also the most popular sports star on Instagram, with an impressive following of over half a billion people.