All you need to know about Al Nassr – the Saudi Arabia club Cristiano Ronaldo has joined

The 37-year-old was given a grand unveiling by the Saudi side on Tuesday after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract

Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Cristiano Ronaldo was officially unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Tuesday after finalising his move to the Saudi Arabia club on a two-and-a-half year contract.

Ronaldo, one of the finest footballers in history, was introduced on Tuesday night at the Saudi Arabian league leaders home at Mrsool Park in Riyadh where he was given a hero’s welcome on the pitch in front of 25,000 supporters.

Who are Al Nassr?

The Riyadh club are one of Saudi Arabia's most well known and decorated clubs who regularly compete for honours both domestically and in Asia. Al Nassr have won nine Saudi Premier League titles, six King's Cups, three Crown Prince's Cups, three Federation Cups and two Saudi Super Cups. In 1995 they reached their only Asian Champions League final, losing to South Korea's Ilhwa Chunma.

Coached by Frenchman Rudi Garcia, Al Nassr currently top the Saudi league table ahead of Al Shabab on 26 points.

Why has Ronaldo signed?

Ronaldo signed on a free transfer following the termination of his contract at Manchester United on November 22. The 37-year-old Portuguese striker departed Old Trafford after a stinging television interview in which he criticised the club's owners and manager Erik ten Hag.

Widespread reports claim the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward will earn north of $200 million per year – although Nassr have, predictably, decided not to confirm nor vehemently deny the speculation.

What did he say?

"I'm grateful to Al Nassr, for giving me this opportunity to develop football for the younger generation, for the women as well. For me, it's a challenge, but I also feel very happy and proud," Ronaldo said.

"I can say now, I had many opportunities in Europe, Brazil, Australia and the United States. Even in Portugal, many clubs tried to sign me, but I gave my word to this club, to develop not only football but also the other parts of this country."

What has been the reaction?

Ronaldo has been criticised for joining Al Nassr, with his detractors claiming it is no way to bring down the curtain on one of the most successful careers in the game's history.

With 118 goals, he sits as the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football, while he has registered more than 800 goals in his career overall.

The Portugal captain is a five-time winner of the Uefa Champions League, and has guided his country to success in both the 2016 European Championship and the 2018/19 Uefa Nations League.

“Football is different [nowadays]; the evolution of football is different,” Ronaldo said. “It’s not the end of my career to come to Saudi Arabia. This is why I want to change, and to be honest, I really don’t care what people say.

“I took my decisions and I have responsibility to change that. But, for me, I’m really, really happy to be here.”

Who will he play alongside?

Ronaldo will line up alongside several players who have enjoyed fleeting moments at the Qatar World Cup alongside him.

Defender Sultan Al Ghannam's introduction as a late substitute helped Saudi Arabia pull off the shock of the tournament as Herve Renard's side beat Argentina in their Group C opener.

Ronaldo could partner Vincent Aboubakar in attack. The Cameroon striker scored one of the goals of the tournament with an inch-perfect lob over Serbia goalkeeper Vanja Milinković-Savić in their first group match and also scored the winner against Brazil before being sent off for his celebrations.

Other familiar names include former Arsenal and Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina, former Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo and attacking Argentine midfielder Pity Martinez.

Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar could soon become a teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo. AFP

When will he make his debut?

The former Real Madrid and Juventus striker could be in line to make his debut for his new side on Thursday when the Saudi league leaders take on Al Ta'ee at home.

Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia said the signing of Ronaldo was a huge step for the Saudi Arabian league.

"In my life, I've seen that great players like Cristiano are the simplest to manage, because there's nothing I can teach him," Garcia told reporters.

"Like he said, we are here to win, nothing else. I want him to enjoy playing with Al Nassr and winning with Al Nassr, just that."

Updated: January 04, 2023, 8:30 AM