It has been a tough old season for former Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
His dream return to Manchester United and Old Trafford quickly turned sour, and there was plenty of speculation over the summer that he wanted to move to pastures new once again, but with time left on his contract, United were unwilling to do a deal.
Fast forward to the 2022/23 campaign, and there were numerous clashes and flash points between the player and the club, going as far back as issues in pre season, but things still had not quite come to a head when he refused to come on as a substitute in the game against Tottenham Hotspur. The tensions were rising through and even being handed the captain’s armband did not help.
With a few days to go before the first ever World Cup out in Qatar kicked off, Ronaldo sat down with Piers Morgan and world cup betting odds could not have predicted the hugely explosive interview that would follow. Criticising everyone from their owners, through to manager Eric ten Hag, down to current and former team mates – but ultimately he got what he seemed to desire and Manchester United were left with little option but to mutually agree to terminate the remainder of his contract so he could move on as a free agent.
With the 37 year old fully focused on Portugal’s World Cup campaign, he refused to talk about his future and a potential destination as he looks towards the final years of what has been a glittering professional career, but as expected, Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr quickly tabled what was believed to have been a massive offer for his services. They are not the only side reportedly interested in him, but they were the first to put an eye watering 200 million Euros a year deal to his representatives.
With Ronaldo referencing the fact that he apparently turned down a £305 million deal over the summer from a Saudi Arabian side, many believe that it was again Al-Nassr, but obviously this time around – with no club negotiations to be held – they are far more likely to get their man.
Portugal secured top spot in Group H with two wins from their three games, and progressed through the Round of 16 stage with little difficulty – taking a 6-1 victory over Switzerland to set up what many thought would be a pretty easy encounter with Morocco.
Morocco had not read Ronaldo’s script though and in taking a 1-0 victory, even though he entered the game in the 50th minute to equal the all time appearance record of 196 at international level, he could not change the course of the game, and Morocco made history of their own by becoming the first African nation to reach a World Cup Semi Final.
With their tournament over, many in the wider world of football simply feel that Ronaldo may now take a week out before making any announcements as to where his club future will now lie. There is no great rush for the player as he cannot officially sign for any new side, even though he is now a free agent, until the transfer window opens on January 1.
But it will not be long before he is amongst the headlines once again.
Photo by Unsplash
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