Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr transfer: Saudi club confident of post-World Cup deal; off-field powers offered

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Saudi Arabian giants Al Nassr are ready to provide Cristiano Ronaldo with a major say in every aspect of their club as they look to finalize the signing of the Portugal forward.

Sources close to Al Nassr have told CBS Sports that Ronaldo’s authority at the club would extend all the way up to choosing a new head coach, should he so wish. They have also earmarked an ambassadorial role for him at the club after he retires with senior figures at the club believing that Ronaldo’s presence in the country can help to boost the game’s status ahead of a possible bid for the hosting rights of the 2030 World Cup.

CBS Sports first revealed Al Nassr’s three year contract offer to Ronaldo last month with the club ready to pay the 37-year-old an annual salary worth $75 million. In addition to that salary he is expected to earn significant sums from his image rights in Saudi Arabia.

A deal has not yet been finalized between Ronaldo’s representatives and Al Nassr, but there is growing confidence from the Saudi club that they will secure their man once Portugal’s involvement in the World Cup comes to an end. So far no major European teams have made an offer for his services; a market that had cooled significantly when he made a transfer request in the summer has hardly been revived by the explosive interview he gave to Talk TV last month, where he claimed Manchester United had betrayed him. His contract at Old Trafford was terminated soon after.

Al Nassr first expressed their interest in Ronaldo in the summer; their offer was never formally rejected by the player’s camp but at the time he wanted to ensure he was playing at the highest level ahead of the winter World Cup. Indeed, the matter of Ronaldo’s image rights is believed to be the only factor that needs to be clarified before the player is able to make a final decision on whether he will move to Riyadh. 

Meanwhile Ronaldo faces the prospect of ending his World Cup without the captain’s armband having left his head coach Fernando Santos thoroughly unimpressed with his conduct when being substituted in Portugal’s defeat to South Korea. The record scorer in men’s international football appeared to shush his opponents as he left the pitch, afterwards saying he was angry that Cho Gue-sung had tried to hurry him off the pitch.

“Have I seen the images? Yes, I didn’t like it, not at all,” said Santos, who refused to confirm that Ronaldo would wear the armband against Switzerland on Thursday. “I didn’t like it. I really didn’t like it. But from that moment onwards everything is finished regarding that issue. These matters are resolved behind closed doors. It’s resolved. Full stop on this matter and now everyone is focused on tomorrow’s match.”

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