Soccer-Ronaldo joins Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr until 2025 By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group A – Luxembourg v Portugal – Stade Josy Barthel, Luxembourg – March 30, 2021 Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo reacts REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

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(Reuters) -Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a 2-1/2 year contract, the club announced on Friday, after leaving Manchester United to become a free agent.

Ronaldo departed Old Trafford last month following an explosive television interview in which the 37-year-old forward said he felt betrayed by the club and did not respect their Dutch manager Erik ten Hag.

Al Nassr issued a statement saying the five-time Ballon D’or winner will join on a deal until 2025 but did not disclose any financial details. Ronaldo’s contract has been estimated by media to be worth more than 200 million euros ($214.04 million).

“I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia,” Ronaldo said in the statement.

“I am looking forward to joining my new team mates and together with them help the Club to achieve success.”

Ronaldo will arrive in Saudi Arabia with a vast collection of club honours after a glittering spell at Spanish giants Real Madrid from 2009-18 where he won two LaLiga titles, two Spanish Cups, four Champions League titles and three Club World Cups.

He went on to score a club record 451 times for Real and has more than 800 senior goals overall for club and country.

Ronaldo claimed two Serie A titles and a Copa Italia trophy in three years at Juventus before rejoining United with whom he had bagged three Premier League crowns, the FA Cup, two League Cups, the Champions League and Club World Cup.

He played for Portugal in Qatar, where he became the first player to score in five World Cups after netting a penalty in his side’s opening Group H game against Ghana. Portugal were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Morocco.

Ronaldo said Qatar would probably be his last World Cup as he plans to retire at 40, with a move to Saudi Arabia likely to mark the swansong in the career one of the game’s greatest current players alongside Lionel Messi.

“This is more than history in the making,” Al Nassr Football Club President Musalli Almuammar said. “This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations.”

The Saudi Arabian club, who have won nine Saudi Pro Premier League titles, are hoping Ronaldo can help them win another domestic league title and a first AFC Asian Champions League.

However, the Portuguese forward will miss his first two domestic games after being banned for knocking a phone out of a fan’s hand after United’s defeat at Everton in April.

($1 = 0.9344 euros)

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