The backstory: Football fans were shocked this week when it was announced that Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world's most well-known athletes, had signed with Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr. The 37-year-old Portuguese football star signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the 18-time Saudi champions, with the deal reportedly worth up to €200 million (US$212 million) per year, including commercial agreements. If true, this deal makes Ronaldo the highest-paid football player in history.
More recently: This all appeared to quickly transition in November when Ronaldo's contract with Manchester United was terminated after he did an explosive TV interview where he criticized the club's hierarchy. Al Nassr actually made an offer to Ronaldo during the World Cup, but the deal wasn't confirmed until December. Ronaldo and his family arrived in Riyadh on Monday, where he'll be looking to win a league title in a fourth different country.
The development: This transfer is expected to bring a lot of attention to Saudi football, especially with a potential bid to host the World Cup in 2030 on the horizon. It's also a big deal for Al Nassr, a team that isn't super well-known outside of Asia. As for Ronaldo, this move probably marks the end of his career in elite club football.
"I'm so proud to make this big decision in my life. In Europe my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. This is a new challenge," said Cristiano Ronaldo at the first media conference after he signed with Saudi's Al Nassr.
"I'm a unique player," said Ronaldo. "I beat all the records there. I want to beat a few records here. This contract is unique but I'm a unique player, so for me it's normal. I really don't worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I know the league is very competitive, I saw many games … I'm ready to keep playing football."
"In my life, I've seen that great players like Cristiano are the simplest to manage, because there's nothing I can teach him," said Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia to reporters.