Cristiano Ronaldo’s surprising transfer decision - just months after Newcastle United ‘talks’
Cristiano Ronaldo could leave Saudi Arabia sooner than expected.
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Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly wants to leave Al Nassr - just four months after becoming the highest-paid player in world football.
The 37-year-old had his contract terminated by Manchester United in November following an explosive TV interview with Piers Morgan. Ronaldo said he felt betrayed by Erik ten Hag and did not respect him.
Shortly after competing at the Qatar World Cup with Portugal, it was announced Ronaldo had signed a two-and-a-half year contract with Al Nassr, worth a staggering £175million-a-year.
Ronaldo has netted 12 league goals in 15 games but the team as a whole has suffered a dip in form after losing top spot to Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League and being knocked out of the Saudi Arabian Cup.
And according to Spanish publication El Nacional, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner could return to Real Madrid in a non-playing role with his partner Georgina Rodriguez desperate to return to the capital.
Ronaldo scored 451 goals in 438 appearances during his time at the Bernabeu, winning four Champions League, three Club World Cups and UEFA Super Cups, two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Spanish Super Cups.
How the Newcastle rumours started
An article by Marca in January claimed Ronaldo had a clause in his contract to join Newcastle next season if they qualify for the Champions League. Head coach Eddie Howe, however, quickly rubbished the story.
“We wish Cristiano all the best with his new venture but there’s no truth in that from our perspective,” Howe told Sky Sports.
Before that, it was even claimed by the Daily Mail that Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes had held talks with Newcastle but again, it’s understood there was no truth in that.
Prior to the Ronaldo speculation, Howe was asked about the prospect of signing Ronaldo and relayed the club’s policy and signing youngster players to get the average age of the squad down.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Howe said in October. “If you look at his goal record last year, it was incredible. For me, the transfer has worked, it’s been a success.
“He scored some massive goals last year, and some really late important goals in the Champions League. He’s still an outstanding player and should never be underestimated.
“We’re trying to provide long-term growth, we’ve got a longer-term vision. At the moment, we have quite an ageing squad, so we probably need to invest in more young players. That’s probably a big part of our progression, really.
“We need to get the average age down, so it might not be a signing that we would necessarily look to make – but not under-estimating the quality of the player.”