Ronaldo’s new journey in Saudi Arabia


Max Ma, Senior Editor of Social Justice

The 37-year-old Portuguese professional soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo ended his Manchester United career following the explosive interview with Piers Morgan, and officially announced his move to Al-Nassr FC, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract on December 30.

This move was seen by many as a signal to the end of his top level playing career in Europe. His contracts with Al-Nassr will ensure that he is extremely well-remunerated as he approaches his retirement. Many outlets cited Ronaldo’s salary with Al Nassr at around 200 million dollars per year, making him one of the highest-paid athletes in history. Ronaldo was still eager to participate in European leagues, however, considering the wages he demanded and was being offered, it may have appeared that no teams in Europe were truly interested in signing him.

Many others saw his decision as the start of a new adventure. In an interview, Ronaldo claimed his motivation,“in Europe my work, it’s done. I won everything. I played in the most important clubs in Europe and for me now, it’s a new challenge.” 

JV Boys Soccer Head Coach, Ackim Mpofu believed that as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and a five-time Champions League champion, the move to Saudi Arabia is not a step down for his career. According to Mpofu, “Making the move to Al Nassr is a new journey. He’s done everything he needs to be approved in Europe. Undoubtedly he is one of the best players ever. He still deserves the respect.” 

Eager to experience a new soccer league on a different continent, Ronaldo could bring a significant effect on and off the pitch for the club, the country and the wider footballing [soccer] world. “He probably can bring a lot more sportlike to that league in the Middle East of the region in terms of football [soccer],” said Mpofu. With his experience and the attention he gains, Ronaldo can certainly renovate soccer in Saudi Arabia.

His deal with Al-Nassr also sparked some controversies. The first controversy surrounds his first press conference in Saudi Arabia when he mixed Saudi Arabia with South Africa. Following Ronaldo joining Al-Nassr, his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, will also move to Riyah along with Ronaldo’s five children. However, the pair was never married. Their relationship to live together as unmarried couples was strictly prohibited by Saudi’s Islamic Kingdom laws. However, the couple was eventually excused from this law and permitted to live together, indirectly reflecting Ronaldo’s global significance and influence.

Despite all the controversies, this contract will provide a new and promising future experience for the Portuguese star. At 37, Ronaldo is already at the normal retirement age for a professional soccer player; however, Mpofu still expects Ronaldo to have around 4 or 5 years left for his career. “He decides to start a new Chapter. He probably might come to the U.S, to the retirement league. Or he might finish his career in Portugal,” said Mpofu. Whether this is an end or a new beginning, Ronaldo’s decision certainly marks a brand new phase for his own career, the leagues in Saudi Arabia, and even the larger world of soccer.