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From discord over Morgan interview to Regufe’s Al-Nassr masterstroke

First Published Jan 4, 2023, 4:19 PM IST

A day after Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al-Nassr player, reports have suggested that the Portuguese talisman split with long-time super-agent Jorge Mendes after disagreements over Piers Morgan’s interview, with close pal Ricky Regufe taking control of move to Saudi Arabia.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

The 37-year-old striker from Portugal was formally introduced as an Al-Nassr player on Tuesday after arriving in Saudi Arabia and signing a 175 million pounds contract. It comes after a turbulent few weeks in which Ronaldo, who had been dropped by United earlier in the season, accused the Red Devils of “betraying” him and attacked manager Erik ten Hag in the TalkTV interview.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

Mendes had a different opinion since he understood that only Al-Nassr could meet Ronaldo’s wage demands. He had already started the process by gauging the Saudi Arabian club’s interest. This theory was proven when the Portuguese talisman underperformed at the World Cup and was benched by coach Fernando Santos for the knockout stages. Publico claimed the striker’s actions during the showpiece tournament were a ‘constant source of irritation’ for the Portugal team, with his teammates and the federation ‘hushing up almost everything’.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

In his presentation on Tuesday, the 37-year-old icon stated that he had been approached by numerous clubs in Europe, Brazil, Australia, the United States, and even Portugal but that he had already committed to Al-Nassr. Meanwhile, a report in The Athletic claimed that European clubs were given the opportunity to pay Ronaldo just over 4 million pounds a year (80k pounds a week) in the summer. However, no one took the bait.

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In front of 25,000 boisterous fans at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, Ronaldo was announced as ‘the world’s greatest footballer’ over a backdrop of explosions, flares, and strobe lighting. For forsaking the European game and accepting the Saudi money, Ronaldo has drawn criticism. But he said, “This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal. I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I am so proud to make a big decision in my life. My work in Europe is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs.”

Also read: When Ronaldo could debut for Al-Nassr: Date, time, where to watch in India and more

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“For me now, it is a new challenge in Asia. I’m grateful that Al Nassr have given me this opportunity to develop not only football, but also the young generation, the women’s generation. I want to change the mentality of the new generation,” CR7 added. After his introductory press conference, Ronaldo met his new teammates and swapped his three-piece suit for a yellow home kit before greeting a packed Mrsool Park.

Image Credit: Getty Images

Image Credit: Getty Images

“I have beaten a few records there (Europe) and I want to beat a few records here. I am coming here to win, to play and to enjoy and be part of the success of the country and the culture of the country. I know the league is very competitive. I have seen many games. I am ready to enjoy this, to smile and to still play football,” Ronaldo said in his press conference.

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