Football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been unveiled as a player of Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr following his record-breaking move to the club. The club’s 25,000-capacity stadium was filled in welcoming the 37-year-old on Tuesday.
Last week, the 5-time Balon d’Or winner signed a $175 million contract with the Saudi club, making him the highest-paid player. The star arrived at the club on Monday and completed his medicals before his official presentation to the club on Tuesday.
“I’m coming here to win, to play, to enjoy, to be part of the success of the country and culture of the country,” Ronaldo stated at his unveiling ceremony. “This is a good chance to grow many important points here with my knowledge and my experience.”
The colourful unveiling climaxed with the arrival of Ronaldo’s partner and kids at the stadium, with the kids dressed in Al Nassr’s yellow and blue jersey. The cheering crowd greeted the star and his family, with high hopes and expectations.
“In Europe, my work is done”
While most football fans, especially in Europe and Africa, seem disappointed with Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia, he doesn’t feel that way and he is unbothered by what others say about his personal decision.
“It’s not the end of my career to come to Saudi Arabia. This is why I change, and to be honest, I’m really not worried about what people say,” Ronaldo said. He added that he had offers in Europe, Brazil, Australia, the US, and even Portugal, but rejected them for the Saudi club.
“Many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club,” Ronaldo continued. “In Europe, my work is done… “I’m a unique player. It’s good to come here, I broke all the records there and I want to break a few records here.”
Big players are the simplest to manage
Following his acrimonious departure from Manchester United, many have argued that Ronaldo is a difficult player to manage. However, Garcia, the coach of Al Nassr, said he doesn’t think it will be a big deal managing the former Manchester United star.
“In my life, I’ve seen that great players like Cristiano are the simplest to manage, because there’s nothing I can teach him,” Garcia told reporters.”Like he said, we are here to win, nothing else. I want him to enjoy playing with Al Nassr and winning with Al Nassr, just that.”
The Ronaldo syndrome
Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr doesn’t seem like a good move until his effect was seen in the club. The club, with less than a million followers on Instagram, gained about 5.1 million new followers after signing the star.
Following the completion of his signing, his trademark number 7 jersey was unarguably the most sold item in the who of Saudi Arabia. Fans queued in long lines to buy the shirt, even if it means standing for hours. Tickets for his unveiling were sold out, as there were still thousands of supporters who couldn’t find their way into the stadium because there was no ticket for them.
Even supporters of other clubs in the Saudi league could not hide their excitement over Ronaldo’s presence in their country. Many came from far and near to witness the unveiling of the highest-profile player ever to come to Saudi Arabia and the entire Asian continent.
“His presence will elevate the Saudi league value and its viewership,” Adam Seddik, a supporter of Al Ittihad from Jeddah, told Aljazeera. “He is the greatest player in the world.”
Seddik said he drove 500 miles (900km) to witness the historic event.