March 4, 2023
Whether Ronaldo's signing will help Al-Nassr becoming Saudi champions by the end of the season or not, remains to be seen. However, the Portuguese superstar's mission in this new chapter of his life isn't restricted to his contributions on the pitch...
There were plenty of eyebrows raised when Cristiano Ronaldo turned down options in Europe to move to Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, in Saudi Arabia. While explaining his decision to move to the Mrsool Park, the Portuguese star highlighted his desire to help grow the game in the country and the wider region of the Middle East. Much like another iconic footballer in Brazilian superstar Pelé, when he made the move to the United States in the mid-70s, Ronaldo can make a significant impact during his time in Saudi Arabia.
Cristiano Ronaldo - First pre-conference for Al Nassr:
While of course wanting to help Al Nassr become as successful as possible and win the Saudi Pro League this season, Ronaldo spoke of a wider goal in the Middle East following his move from Manchester United. It looked unforeseeable that United would see Ronaldo leave before the end of his contract but they parted ways in November and the Red Devils have since emerged as Premier League title outsiders at 14/1 in the odds with Paddy Power. The Red Devils have work to do to chase down frontrunners Arsenal but punters looking to back Ronaldo's former club to finish top of the pile can use a free bet calculator to fully understand their wager. Ronaldo might well be keeping an eye on United's title fortunes this season, but his main focus will be on delivering a Saudi Pro League title to Al Nassr.
Scoring eight goals in his first five league games of Al Nassr, Ronaldo has certainly hit the ground running on his arrival in a new division after the BBC confirmed his departure from Old Trafford. Ronaldo brings with him not just his talents on the field but an influence to inspire the next generation of footballers in Saudi Arabia. Being able to witness the 38-year-old work his magic on the pitch in the flesh will undoubtedly grow the popularity of the sport in Saudi Arabia. A national side that beat eventual champions Argentina at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the foundations are there for a success story in Saudi football.
Ronaldo is not the first iconic player to take on a new challenge in a different league. Going back to 1975, as reported by CNN, Brazilian superstar Pelé decided to move to the New York Cosmos. Coming out of retirement to play in the North American Soccer League, Pelé's arrival was greeted with hysteria in the US. The move paved the way for big names from Europe to also ply their trade in North America, with the likes of Johan Cruyff, Bobby Moore and George Best following in Pelé's footsteps.
Ronaldo is by far the biggest name to have moved to the Saudi Pro League and perhaps like Pelé before him, it will inspire other big names from around the world to feature in the competition in the future. Ronaldo has enjoyed a positive start in this latest chapter of his career in Saudi Arabia and there is still plenty more to come from the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League is on March 9, against Al Ittihad. You can watch Al Ittihad vs Al Nassr, PSG vs Nantes, Wolverhampton vs Tottenham, Manchester City vs Newcastle, Arsenal vs Bournemouth and Chelsea vs Leeds, all matches provided from our live football game pages.
Al-Nassr next game:
Al Ittihad vs Al Nassr kick-off time (09-03-2023):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 01:30
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 23:00
Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) | UTC/GMT+3: 20:30
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+1: 18:30
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+1: 18:30
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+0: 17:30
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 14:30
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-5: 13:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-8: 09:30