Cristiano Ronaldo finally responds to Saudi Arabia transfer after being benched at World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo has decided to reject a lucrative offer worth £173million-a-year from Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr – as he is holding out for a club who can offer him the chance to once again play Champions League football.
Ronaldo is a free agent after reaching an agreement with Manchester United to tear up the final six months of his lucrative contract a fortnight ago shortly after he’d slammed boss Erik ten Hag and the club hierarchy in a scathing, unsanctioned interview with Piers Morgan.
That means the 37-year-old is free to join another club outside the transfer window; although his focus is currently on the World Cup, where Portugal have just booked their spot in the tournament quarter-finals.
The fact that Ronaldo is currently pre-occupied in Qatar has not dampened speculation surrounding his future, with talk persisting of a mega-bucks offer from the Middle East. However, the veteran striker appeared to shut down those claims with his post-match comments after Portugal thumped Switzerland 6-1 in the Round of 16.
“No, it is not true,” Ronaldo insisted when he was quizzed about the rumours linking him to Saudi Arabia, and a new report from Portuguese outlet SIC Noticias has outlined that the former Juventus superstar still holds a desire to compete in the Champions League and is holding out in the hope that he will receive an offer from one of Europe’s elite in the coming weeks.
Ronaldo was dealt a fresh blow on Tuesday night as he was benched by Portugal boss Fernando Santos for his nation’s crunch World Cup meeting with Switzerland.
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In Ronaldo’s absence, his replacement, Goncalo Ramos, netted a stunning debut hat-trick to put Murat Yakin’s side to the sword. Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro and Rafael Leao also struck in the comprehensive win – but once again, it was Ronaldo who made the headlines.
Although Ronaldo celebrated the majority of Portugal’s goals enthusiastically, he walked off alone at the end of the match while his teammates celebrated a famous victory.
There had been speculation that Ronaldo had been dropped for his petulant reaction to being substituted in Portugal’s previous match against South Korea. However, Santos firmly refuted that notion and insisted that Ronaldo was still a “very important player” for the national side.
“I have a very close relationship [with Ronaldo. I know him since he was 19 at Sporting and then he started to develop in the national squad when I arrived in 2014. Ronaldo and I never misinterpret the human and personal aspect with that of manager and player. I will always consider that he is a very important player to have in the team.”