Is Ronaldo Moving to Saudi Arabia? Kingdom's Sports Minister Responds
09:13 GMT 24.11.2022 (Updated: 09:58 GMT 30.11.2022)
Man United confirmed the termination of Cristiano Ronaldo's contract by mutual agreement between the player and the club on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia's Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has broken his silence on mounting speculation about Cristiano Ronaldo's prospective move to the oil-rich nation.
The minister was quipped about the chances of Ronaldo's arrival in Saudi Arabia in an interview with a US news organization, to which he replied: "I don't know, that's a straight answer. I read the same thing as you read in the news. I don't know what his future plans are."
However, when prodded further he added that he would love to see him playing in his country.
"Why not? We have a strong league. In each team, we have seven foreign players playing and we are looking to increase that. Our teams play at the top level in Asia. Football is strong in Saudi. So why not?"
22 November 2022, 17:36 GMT
Possible Scenarios for Ronaldo?
Since CR7 parted ways with Manchester United earlier this week, the guessing game over his future has reached unprecedented heights with Saudi club Al-Nassr being tipped to be his likely destination.
The intense media scrutiny behind the five-time Ballon d'Or winner's potential switch to the Middle East began after he admitted in an interview with British broadcaster Piers Morgan that a Saudi-based club had offered him a whopping $360 million contract for two years. He later clarified that he rejected the deal at the time.
However, a lot has changed since then: Ronaldo is now without a club, and after Newcastle reportedly declined the chance to sign him, the legendary footballer is running out of potential suitors.
In this situation in which he's unable to find a club for himself in Europe, Ronaldo may not be able to resist the temptation of such a mega deal. Moreover, there are not many clubs that could afford his astronomical weekly wages which are over $600,000. But the Saudi club has reportedly offered him more than that.
At 37, Ronaldo is considered to be a player who is well past his sell-by date and that's why he has seen multiple rejections in the transfer market since June. During the summer when he was trying to force his way out of Old Trafford, he was snubbed by clubs including Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Chelsea, and Barcelona.
Keeping all these scenarios in mind, Ronaldo's move to Saudi Arabia doesn't appear to be out of the question. But only time will tell if he would take that plunge. Perhaps, things will be clear in the next three to four weeks during the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
If the Funchal-born footballer dazzles on the big stage as he has often done in the past, his performances could ignite interest in him from European clubs once again. If he fails to achieve a significant amount of success in Qatar, he may be left with limited options with the likelihood of him heading to Saudi Arabia pretty high.