But his move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nasr marks a step into the unknown.
The Saudi Pro League likely did not attract the attention of the majority of his loyal fans, but after signing a two- to two-year contract with Al Nasr, the next in his career, And it will probably be the place where the final chapter unfolds. .
He hopes to also qualify for the Asian Champions League next season if his new club qualifies for the biggest competition in Asian football.
“My work in Europe is over,” Ronaldo said when he was introduced to Al Nasr in Riyadh on Tuesday.
But what can the 37-year-old, five-time Champions League winner expect from Saudi football?
“I know the league is very competitive. People don’t know that, but I know because I’ve seen a lot of games,” he said.
He will join a team aiming to become Saudi champions for the 10th time after winning the title last in 2019.
The Saudi Pro League was founded in its current form in 2008, but the competition dates back to 1976. Current champions Al Hilal are the most successful team with 18 titles and four Asian Champions League titles.
Like Al-Nasr, it is based in the Saudi capital Riyadh and was linked with the transfer of Ronaldo.Saudi Arabian football may not get much attention in the Western world, but it is very popular in Arabian countries. I have.
According to official statistics, more than 1.25 million spectators attended matches during the 2021-22 season, with over 215 million television viewers during that campaign.
Also, Ronaldo is not the only international player to make it to Saudi Arabia. Brazilian former Bayern Munich midfielder Luis Gustavo is already at Al Nasr, as is former Arsenal and Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina.
Former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo plays for Al Hilal.
Having played for Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Inter Milan and Sevilla, Ever Banega now plays for Al Shabaab.
According to statistics compiled last year, there are 128 international players in the 16-team league.
But no player is as big as Ronaldo.
“Cristiano is one of the best players in the world. In the history of football, he is a legend,” Al Nasr manager Rudy Garcia said on Tuesday. “Of course it’s an honor for me, but it’s also an honor for Al Nasr to welcome Cristiano.”
Saudi officials and fans hope Ronaldo’s arrival will serve as a catalyst for more elite players to follow in his footsteps.
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