When Cristiano Ronaldo was openly shopping for a new club this past summer, he couldn’t find a willing suitor that fit his requirement of currently competing in the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo, 37, wanted to stay in Europe and tack on more goals to his all-time scoring record for that competition. While Europe’s big clubs all did not want him, some wealthy clubs in Saudi Arabia did, and they’re still interested now.
A couple of clubs were willing to spend stupid money then and at least one is willing to egregiously splash the cash now.
Al-Nassr are willing to offer Ronaldo a 3½-year contract worth more than $119 million (£100m) a year, reports ESPN.
Yes, equates to a $360 million deal. It’s more than a 1/3 of a billion dollars! WOW! Who would pay that much money for someone who is in the twilight of his career?
Well, obviously an outfit with deep pockets due to oil money. What would you honestly get in return on that investment? He would be on the wrong side of 40 after this potential deal runs its course.
The marketing and branding power of a player with over 506 million followers on Instagram. Yes, he’s got more than half a billion followers on just Instagram alone.
Ronaldo, currently leading Portugal into battle at the World Cup in Qatar, is on the market as a free agent.
He does not have to wait until the January transfer window to sign anywhere.
He was set to earn around $19m (£16m) for the final six months on his contract at United, but because the two sides reached a mutual parting of ways agreement, the club owe him nothing.
And right here, this is where things get turned up a notch, Al-Nassr, according to the ESPN report, have made it clear that they would even be willing to compensate Ronaldo for the wages that he would have made until the end of this season at United.
Yes, that is how bad they want him in the Pro League. The Saudi Arabian top flight needs attention badly, and star power is what makes that happen, as they make a pitch to host the 2030 World Cup.
Reportedly, nothing should happen with Ronaldo and his next club until after Portugal complete their World Cup. They play their final Group H game versus South Korea Friday. They have already qualified for the round of 16.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly contributed to WGN News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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