With a roaring crowd in witness, history was made when football phenomenon Cristiano Ronaldo was officially unveiled as the newest addition to Saudi Arabia’s AlNassr football club. In front of 25,000 enthusiastic fans at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, Ronaldo was announced as “the world’s greatest player” over a backdrop of Saudi music, crowd chants, strobe lighting, and fireworks. Truly an extraordinary moment for Arab fans after years of containing their love for the game and the player behind make-shift screens in cafes.
Ronaldo arrived in the late hours of Monday with his partner Georgina Rodriguez, their children and his entourage ahead of the grand event. At the first half of the event, a press conference was held for the Portuguese star who officially signed the contract sealing the two-year deal. The deal will extend through 2025 and is estimated to be worth more than €200 million ($213.2 million).
When asked about his move, Ronaldo stated that “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 am so proud to make a big decision in my life. My work in Europe is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs his work in Europe is done, and now it was time for a new challenge in Asia.”
He also mentioned that he received offers from other clubs, but he chose AlNassr in the end, “I had many opportunities in Europe and many clubs in Brazil, Australia, USA and even in Portugal, many clubs tried to sign me. But I gave my word to this club.”
Ronaldo also acknowledged Saudi’s ambition for the game, “We can see from Saudi Arabia’s recent performance at the World Cup that this is a country with big football ambitions and a lot of potentials.” In the recent World Cup, Saudi Arabia’s national team gained a lot of traction as they fiercely played against legendary teams.
After the conference, he met his new members before meeting his fans and they graciously welcomed him to his new home in a heartwarming moment.
The crowd erupted into cheers when Ronaldo walked outside the field of Mrsool Park donning the AlNassr jersey with his name, and the number 7 on it followed by his family.
“I want to give a different vision of this country and football. This is why I took this opportunity,” he added.
Before his family was introduced on stage, he once again thanked his enthusiastic fans for their support as he signed footballs that had been placed on plinths around the field before kicking them into the crowd.
“Me and my family want to say thank you for your support and we promise to give our best,” Ronaldo continued before leaving the stage.
Earlier AlNassr coach Rudi Garcia stated that the record signing is a big step forward for Saudi Pro League.
Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr comes with great significance to the SPL, and the club. It not only gives great exposure to the league, but it will open the door for other international players to join and elevate the Arab leagues immensely. A new revolution is coming in the Middle East and Asia. Until now Europe had all the advantage to sign good players from around the world, but this is expected to shift after Ronaldo’s decision to join AlNassr.