Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to confirm that he was not targeted by any English or top European clubs before signing for Al-Nassr on a lucrative two-year contract during his unveiling on Tuesday. The former Manchester United striker was greeted by thousands of fans inside the Mrsool Park Stadium but also faced the media for a round of questioning after undergoing his medical in Riyadh.
Ronaldo waited for a number of weeks to see if he was going to receive any offers from clubs in the Champions League before deciding to sign for Al-Nassr, who are reportedly paying the 37-year-old a record-breaking salary of around £3.6million per week. He insisted on Tuesday that he was approached by many clubs from around the world but stopped short of confirming that he was a target for any sides in England or any of the biggest teams in Europe.
“I had many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, Australia, in the US and even Portugal tried to sign me,” said Ronaldo. “But I gave my word to this club not only to develop the club, but the country. I know what I want, but I also know what I don’t want.
“I’m a unique player, I beat all the records there [Europe], so I want to beat a few here. This contract is unique, because I’m unique, so this is normal.
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“Many people speak and give their opinions but they don’t know much about football. All the teams are ready. You have many surprises, South Korea, the African teams, Costa Rica. I don’t care what people say, I know this league is competitive. I hope to play after tomorrow.”
Recent reports have speculated that Ronaldo may have a clause in his contract with Al-Nassr that would allow him to join Newcastle United on loan if they manage to qualify for next season’s Champions League, but the man himself appeared to pour cold water on the possibility of a future return to England by declaring that his work in Europe is done.
“So far I’m feeling very good,” he added. “I’m so proud to make this decision in my life, and as you mentioned before in Europe my work is done. I won everything, I played at the most important clubs and for me now it is a new challenge in Asia.
“I’m grateful that Al-Nassr have given me this opportunity to show and develop, not only for the younger generation, but for the women’s generation. It’s a challenge but I’m very proud.”
Ronaldo went on to raise a few eyebrows when he mistakenly referred to the country of Saudi Arabia as South Africa in a brief slip of the tongue, saying: “For me it’s not the end of my career to come into South Africa, this is what I want to change and to be honest, I don’t really worry about what the people say.”
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