Cristiano Ronaldo sends message after joining Al Nassr, announces date to face Lionel Messi

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo may well have played his last match in European football, after his signing for Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr was confirmed on Friday night. His deal will run for the next two and a half years, meaning the Portuguese will be 40 when his contract expires.

Cristiano Ronaldo delivers 'inspiring' first words as new signing of Al Nassr | Marca

If that is the case, Ronaldo’s final appearance in European football will have been a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa in Birmingham.

The headline news about the deal, aside from the obvious departure of Ronaldo from the European elite, has been his salary. Marca reported that Ronaldo would be earning half a billion euros, a month ago to the day that his signing was confirmed.

Speaking through the official club channels, Sport carried Ronaldo’s first words as an Al Nassr player.

Al-Nassr : les détails astronomiques du contrat de Cristiano Ronaldo

“I am excited for the new experience in a different league and in a different country, the vision that Al Nassr has is very inspiring.”

“I am very excited to join my teammates in helping the team achieve more success.”

As something of a marmite figure, plenty will not feel too much regret at waving him farewell from European football. However his departure brings to an end an era spanning two decades of elite performance, of the like that has rarely been equalled or surpassed over the history of football.

[DON’T MISS] Cristiano Ronaldo in line for Lionel Messi reunion in January

Ronaldo vừa cập bến Saudi Arabia đã có cơ hội thi đấu với Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo could be set for one more showdown against long-time rival Lionel Messi in January.

Ronaldo’s surprise move to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr was confirmed on Friday, with the Portugal international inking the most lucrative contract in the world to remain in the Middle East until 2025.

Saudi officials are keen to bring Messi to the Pro League further down the line but they may only need to wait until January 2023 to see the World Cup winner in action against Ronaldo as Paris Saint-Germain are expected to head to Saudi Arabia for a friendly match.

Initially announced as part of their Qatar World Tour for 2022, PSG were due to play a game in Saudi Arabia last January but pulled the plug due to Covid-19, but numerous reports suggest the friendly has been rescheduled for 2023.

Indeed, Achraf Ben Ayad states that PSG are due to face a team made up of players from Al Nassr and Al Hilal on January 19 in Saudi Arabia.

Messi, Ronaldo likely to play friendly in January - Reports

Al Hilal are known to be interested in signing Messi and may get the chance to see the Argentine up close if he makes the trip with his current club.

PSG face Rennes in Ligue 1 on January 15 and may have the Coupe de France fourth round to contend with a week later if they can see off Chateauroux early next month, but it appears as though they are looking to squeeze in a trip to the Middle East anyway.

Whether either Messi or Ronaldo would actually be involved in the game is unclear but those in charge of Saudi Arabian football will undoubtedly be keen to parade two of the greatest footballers of all time against each other on their soil.


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