Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo will be unveiled in front of thousands of fans at Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr club on Tuesday, a club spokesperson said.
The 37-year-old great, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, will arrive late Monday with his family, media and technical staff, Al-Walis Al-Muhaidib told AFP.
According to club officials, Ronaldo will be unveiled at 7.00pm (1600 GMT). He left Manchester United under fire after disparaging the team in a TV interview.
His most recent and possibly final chapter of an incredible career begins following Portugal’s quarterfinal defeat from the World Cup in Qatar, whis his great rival Lioinel Messi won the Championship with Argentina.
The oil-rich Saudi Arabia has recently entered into sports including golf, Formula One and Boxing. They have also acquired English club Newcastle United.
However, detractors have termed the Saudi Arabia tactic as “sportwashing” and an effort to divert attention from its human rights record.
One official who sought anonymity, said that Al Nassr expects the stadium to be packed for Ronaldo’s unveiling.
Ronaldo is by far the most famous player to have graced the Saudi Arabia league, but other legends like George Weah, Pep Guardiola and Xavi also spent time there in there later years of fame.
Al Nassr dubbed Ronaldo’s signing “more than history in the making”, asserting that he will motivate the rest of the league and perhaps even the entire nation.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the Saudi Arabian minister of sports, in a tweet promised that he will help the rest of the clubs to cut great deals with worldwide talents soon.
United canceled Ronaldo’s contract after an inflammatory interview in which he claimed to feel betrayed by the club and had no regard for coach Erik ten Hag.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo has won titles in Italy with Juventus, Spain with Real Madrid and England with United. He also has five Champions League winners’ medals in his cabinet.
He is currently the Champions League and Portugal’s all-time goal scorer.
He also made history in Qatar when he converted his penalty against Ghana, to become the first player to score at five World Cups.