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Saudi Arabia: Cristiano Ronaldo ‘will play for al-Nassr from January’

Portuguese football icon to sign with Riyadh-based club on a two-and-half-year contract, worth $500m, according to Spanish sports website
Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Portugal and Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium north of Doha on 28 November 2022 (AFP)
Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo reacts during the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Portugal and Uruguay at the Lusail Stadium north of Doha on 28 November 2022 (AFP)

Portuguese football icon Cristiano Ronaldo will sign a lucrative contract to play for Saudi Arabia’s al-Nassr from 1 January, according to Spanish sports website Marca. 

Ronaldo, who is currently in Qatar representing Portugal at the World Cup, will join the Riyadh-based club for two and a half years. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the 37-year-old will receive 200m euros ($207m) per season, including salary and advertising agreements. 

Once signed, the agreement will make him the highest paid athlete in the world, according to Marca.

The striker is currently a free agent after parting ways with Manchester United by mutual consent last month.

The amount offered by al-Nassr likely dwarfs any package that Ronaldo might receive either in European football or in the United States playing in Major League Soccer.

Ronaldo will play in Portugal’s last 16 knockout match against Switzerland on Tuesday. Earlier in the tournament, he became the first male football player to score in five different World Cup tournaments. 

According to a report last year, he turned down a multi-million-dollar opportunity to become the face of Saudi Arabian tourism.

Sports and entertainment have formed part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy and improve its international reputation. 

However, groups such as Amnesty International have long campaigned against what it says is the kingdom's use of such connections to distract from its human rights violations.

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