Dubai: Cristiano Ronaldo was officially unveiled as an Al Nassr player at the club’s Mrsool Park stadium tonight, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Suited and booted, Ronaldo pulled up in style and was walked through the stadium’s halls by the club’s president Musalli al-Muammar for a press conference. Meanwhile, there was quite the light show coupled with house music thumping around the stadium as Al Nassr fans patiently waited to see their new hero walk out on to the pitch in the team’s famous yellow kit.
Look: Ronaldo unveiled as Al Nassr player
After having his contract cancelled by English Premier League giants Manchester United, the 37-year-old could have picked several top clubs in Europe, the US and was even wanted in Australia. But, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner chose to come to the Middle East and will now do his best to help his new side win the Saudi Pro League.
'My work in Europe done'
During the press conference he said, “I am feeling very good and very proud to make this big decision. My work in Europe is done. I have played in the most important clubs in Europe and I am ready for a new challenge. I want to show and develop the new and young generation in Saudi Arabia as well as the woman’s game.”
He continued, “I want to change the mentality of the new generation and had many opportunities to play for teams in Europe, Brazil, US, Australia and Portugal but I gave my word to this club. I know what I want and I know what I don’t want. I want to change the perspective of many people.”
No truth in rumours
The former Real Madrid and Juventus star added, “It’s not easy to win any games today. The evolution of football is different and this isn’t the end of my career by moving to the Middle East. For me, I’m really happy to be here and I know the league is competitive. I’ve watched many games.”
Much has been made of the huge salary Ronaldo will be paid during his two and a half year stay with the club which is reported to be $207 million a year but Al Muammar said he “deserves” to be paid a large sum for joining the Saudi club. “He is the best player in football history, so it is normal that he will be the highest in terms of the cost of salary and this is something that he really deserves.”
Breaking down Ronaldo's huge salary
His new coach, Frenchman Rudi Garcia, was sporting a huge smile throughout the press conference and when asked how he felt to have Ronaldo in his side he said with a laugh, “I’m very happy. It’s an honour for me but also for Al Nassr to welcome Cristiano. He is an example, everyone knows that. My objective for Cristiano is make him happy and I want him to enjoy playing with Al Nassr and winning with Al Nassr.”
Al Nassr, one of the oldest clubs in the country, are a pretty handy side and currently stand as league leaders in the top flight having won eight of their first 11 games this season and losing only once. But before the global icon made his move, the club’s Instagram account had around 860,000 followers. It has now grown to 7.8 million. Ronaldo is the most followed person on the social media platform with 500 million followers and clearly millions of them have taken an interest in his new team.