Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to join Al-Nassr and will sign a €200 million-a-year contract with the Saudi Arabian club.
COMMENT: Ronaldo’s big-money move to Saudi Arabia is proof that he has finally accepted the end
Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to join Saudi Arabian club, Al-Nassr which is a testament to his acceptance of his sharp decline.
The Portuguese superstar became the world’s most famous unemployed person on November 22 following confirmation from Manchester United that they had mutually agreed to part ways.
If the reports are to be believed, it appears Cristiano will be playing his club football in Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future which is quite frankly an uncharacteristic move.
An uncharacteristic move
A 37-year-old moving to a Saudi Arabian club should neither be a big deal nor a surprise, that is the normal career trajectory for football players in the twilight of their careers.
But this isn’t just any football player, Ronaldo’s unrivalled self-belief which also doubles as a lack of self-awareness is what makes this potential move a surprise.
If nobody else in the world believes that Cristiano Ronaldo is still among the very best players around, you can be guaranteed the man himself believes it.
Although the legendary Portuguese forward has started to look his age more and more this season on the pitch for both Manchester United and Portugal, Ronaldo still regards himself as the top footballer he’s been his entire career.
His explosive 90-minute interview with Piers Morgan in which Ronaldo blamed everyone else for his poor season lends credence to the thought that he still wants to compete at the very top.
But his decline from last season to this is as obvious as it is rapid and if indeed he is really going to Saudi Arabia, it would mean Ronaldo has finally accepted it.
Acceptance comes last
Ronaldo has struggled to come to terms with his incredible career nearing its end, the Portuguese striker seems unable to wrap his head around not being able to do the things he did as recently as last season.
Anyone with psychological orientation would be able to tell Ronaldo has gone through the five stages of grief in the last four months, mourning his storied career as it inevitably comes to an end as he’s always known it.
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and more importantly; acceptance, the final stage of grief which it appears Ronaldo is.
Sure there are other allures to joining Al-Nassr,
And although money has never ranked highly in Cristiano’s list of motivating factors, the chance to set a record as the highest earner might be enticing enough for him especially as on-field records have become scarce.
It is unlikely that Ronaldo played two weeks of World Cup football in Qatar and decided to move to Saudi Arabia out of his new-found love for the Middle East
The more likely scenario is that top European clubs are not interested in signing an obviously declining, yet expensive 37-year-old with lots of baggage.
A farewell befitting a GOAT
Acceptance of the end of his best is not a bad thing at all, the move to Al-Nassr could be a good thing for Ronaldo at this stage of his career.
Most top football players stop being relevant at the highest level well before their mid-30s and end up moving away from Europe to America, Asia, the Middle East and other less competitive leagues for one last payday.
Cristiano has done fantastically well for himself to still be relevant for football reasons up until May 2022 as a 37-year-old.
Now he has an opportunity to rest and eat the rewards of his labour at Al-Nassr if the move does materialise.
Ronaldo has the chance to break records in uncharted territory, a prospect that would surely excite him while he continues to add to his already impressive numbers.
This move has the potential to work out as a legacy play for Ronaldo, with a chance to impact Saudi Arabian football similar to how Xavi is synonymous with Qatar and David Beckham with the United States of America.
He would be revered and loved by all in Saudi Arabia while scoring goals regularly again and earning ridiculously high to do so, every footballer in the world would give an arm and a leg to end their career on this note.