Cristiano Ronaldo continues to be linked with clubs around the world following his departure from Manchester United. The Portugal captain’s second spell at Old Trafford came to an end with “immediate effect” on 22 November after the Red Devils confirmed he had left by “mutual agreement”.
The 37-year-old, who is playing for his country at the Fifa World Cup in Qatar, reportedly earned a salary “between £400,000 and £500,000 a week” at United, said Sky News. So the big question will be which club can afford his wages?
According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Ronaldo is close to signing a mega-money agreement with Al Nassr from Saudi Arabia. The deal would be for two-and-a-half years and see the forward earn €200m (£172.8m) per season, “including salary and advertising agreements”.
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Where do the bookies think he’ll go?
We knew that Ronaldo would be on the move from United, “we just didn’t know where the Portuguese superstar would end up”, said Brian Good on Oddschecker. The rumours suggest that he is on his way to the Saudi Pro League and the next club odds “echoed that sentiment”. Now, it seems as though “it’s just a matter of time”. Oddschecker said there’s an “83.3% chance” he will be heading to Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo’s first club, Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, were the initial bookies’ favourites to sign him after the World Cup. Chelsea, Newcastle United, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Napoli and MLS clubs have also linked.
What happened with United?
Before departing for the World Cup, Ronaldo had given an “explosive” interview with Piers Morgan where he revealed that he had felt “betrayed” by the way he was treated by Man Utd. He also spoke out against current manager Erik ten Hag and former team-mate Wayne Rooney.
In an official statement the Red Devils thanked Ronaldo for his “immense contribution” across his two spells, in which he scored 145 goals in 346 appearances. Wishing him and his family well for the future, the club added that everyone at the club “remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch”.
United wanted Ronaldo’s exit done “cleanly and quickly” and in as dignified a way as possible, said Sky Sports. This was not only to “minimise distraction” at Old Trafford, but also to “show respect” to Portugal during the World Cup.
Ronaldo issued his own statement in which he said that he loves Manchester United and loves the fans, “that will never ever change”. However, it feels like “the right time for me to seek a new challenge” and wished the team “every success for the remainder of the season and for the future”.
The all-time top goalscorer in Champions League history and in men’s international football, Ronaldo broke another record at Qatar 2022 by becoming the first male player to score in five different Fifa World Cup tournaments.
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