Saudi Arabian clubs are lining up to try and offer free agent Cristiano Ronaldo lucrative contracts after he was released by Manchester United earlier this week
Cristiano Ronaldo has received another offer from Saudi Arabia as the race for his signature intensifies.
Ronaldo is currently busy competing at the World Cup with Portugal, who opened their tournament with a 3-2 win over Ghana on Thursday evening. The 37-year-old made headlines by becoming the first player ever to score at five World Cups with a second-half penalty setting up the victory for Fernando Santos’ side.
But away from the pitch his career is at a crossroads after Manchester United decided to release him from his contract early. Ronaldo effectively gave the club no choice by conducting an explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he was deeply critical of United and said he felt “betrayed” by them.
Ronaldo was desperate to leave United over the summer but ended up staying due to a lack of offers which satisfied both him and the club. Just days after coming back on the market, he has been inundated with offers, with Saudi Arabian clubs particularly interested in his services.
Al-Nassr were the first to declare an interest and now Sky Sports reports that Al-Hilal are also entering the race for his signature. Ronaldo told Morgan that he rejected a transfer to the Middle Eastern country in the summer which was worth £305million for two years.
Back then, Ronaldo was adamant that he wanted to stay in Europe at a top-level club so he could further his legacy in the Champions League, but Al-Hilal are undeterred. They are reportedly willing to break the bank for Ronaldo and would attempt to move on former United striker Odion Ighalo if they got him.
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Saudi Arabia sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has been open about the country’s efforts to sign world-class players. "Who wouldn't want him to play in their league?" Prince Abdulaziz told Sky News. "He's a role model to a lot of young players – him and [Lionel] Messi."
Discussing his attempts to leave United in the summer, Ronaldo told Morgan on TalkTV: “I was happy here [at United] to be honest, I was motivated to do a great season here.
“But they [the media] continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How do they not want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with a national team?”
Saudi Arabia is trying to use their country’s vast wealth to invest in football and diversify away from oil. The country’s Public Investment Fund bought Newcastle earlier this year and intends to continue making a splash in football.
Prince Abdulaziz says, if possible, they would like to recruit both Ronaldo and Paris Saint-Germain star Messi. "That's benefited a lot in terms of tourism for the kingdom," he said. "If they can, I'd love to see them both play in the Saudi league."
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