Cristiano Ronaldo’s time at Manchester United could be coming to an end as the Portuguese forward starts to explore interest from Saudi Arabian clubs as a serious option.
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The five-time Ballon d’Or winner made his desire to leave the club clear in the summer, but was not pleased with approaches from the kind of European powerhouses he was expecting.
Desperate to play Champions League football, Ronaldo turned down an offer from an unnamed Saudi club that would have seen him take home a remarkable £ 2 million per week in wages. Another proposal would have meant he’d pocket £211m per year.
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Manchester United aren’t currently a Champions League club and lost the first game of their Europa League group stage campaign 1-0 to Real Sociedad at Old Trafford. Throw in the fact that Ronaldo still can’t get into that team and it becomes clear why his patience is wearing thin.
It also explains why the Saudi option is becoming a more attractive proposition to the ageing forward. If the chances of ever playing in the Champions League again are remote, his camp are starting to feel like he may as well go and earn those aforementioned eye-watering wages.
The President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, Yasser Al-Mishal, spoke with The Athletic over the idea of a player of Ronaldo’s caliber playing in the country, suggesting the offer still stands despite snubbing it in the summer.
“We would love to see a player like Cristiano Ronaldo playing in the Saudi league, it would bring huge positive feedback and it would be big news for everyone. I’m sure everyone knows the achievements and records of Cristiano Ronaldo, but also as a player who is a great role model.
“I think, ‘Why not?’, I’m sure it would be a very expensive deal, of course, but we can see our clubs getting higher revenues in the past couple of years. We have already seen some big players who used to play in the Premier League come to the Saudi league.
“I like Cristiano Ronaldo as a player and I would like to see him play in Saudi Arabia.”