Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr future is in doubt with reports claiming the Portugal legend wants to quit the club just months after joining.
The 38-year-old only arrived at the Saudi Arabia side in December having left Manchester United under a cloud following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan. He scored 24 goals for United in the 2021-22 campaign but was in part blamed for a lack of cohesion in the frontline.
The arrival of Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford in the summer seemed to accelerate his departure with the Portugal international often out of the team and, having scored three goals in the first half of the campaign, he left ahead of the World Cup.
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He was on target in Qatar but even fell out of the starting lineup for his country ahead of his move to Saudi Arabia. And it now seems as though that switch has gone sour. Here’s the latest.
How has it gone for Ronaldo so far?
Not great. Ronaldo’s arrival was meant to herald a trophy-laden for Al-Nassr but they look set to end the campaign empty-handed.
He has 12 goals in 12 league games but there have been notable mishaps on and off the pitch for the former United man. Al-Nassr were knocked out of the Saudi Super Cup at the semi-final stage by league rivals Al Ittihad. The goals flowed but a crucial defeat to Al-Ittihad in the league cost them ground in the title race.
Ronaldo was involved in a public spat with members of the Al Feiha team as he accused them of ‘not wanting to play’ during a goalless draw in early April. Reports then emerged that Ronaldo and his teammates had lost faith with then-boss Rudi Garcia. His departure was duly announced.
Defeat to Al Hilal led to more negative headlines as Ronaldo was accused of an inappropriate ‘gesture’ to the opposition fans who chanted Messi’s name. Al Nassr claimed he was merely suffering from an injury.
As the players came off at half-time during the King Cup defeat to Al Wehda in late April, Ronaldo angrily complained to his bench as another trophy opportunity went begging. The only hope of a trophy is the league title and Al-Nassr have ground to make up on Al-Ittihad.
What’s the latest on his future?
Reports have emerged saying the 38-year-old is ready to leave Al-Nassr having struggled to settle. Things have not gone smoothly on the pitch and the forward is reportedly not settled off it. The language barrier and different culture have been referenced as reasons why Ronaldo wants to call time on his career in Saudi Arabia despite signing a contract until 2025.
Where might he go next?
Ronaldo’s preference is seemingly for a return to Real Madrid. It’s hard to envisage the forward being ready to hang up his boots and end his career with something of a whimper but the chances of him earning a playing contract in the Spanish capital appear slim. Spanish outlet El Nacional claim Real are prepared to offer Ronaldo a non-playing role as an ambassador. The report said: “Florentino Perez has guaranteed that [Ronaldo] will not lack work at the Santiago Bernabeu. But, obviously, he wouldn’t do it to be a player, because he considers that it is a cycle that should be considered closed.”
In terms of playing options, Ronaldo’s options were short when it was clear his time at United was up. High wage demands and his waning presence put off many of Europe’s leading clubs. Whether the goalposts might have shifted now to allow a European side to pull off a signing remain unclear while there is always the possibility of him moving to the MLS.
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