Rio Ferdinand Has Backed Cristiano Ronaldo Following His Departure To Saudi’s Al-Nassr

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Rio Ferdinand thinks criticism of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Al-Nassr “stinks” despite his “sadness” about how his Manchester United career ended.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand and Cristiano Ronaldo

Following his turbulent departure from Manchester United in November 2022, Ronaldo announced on Friday 30th of December 2022 that he has agreed to a spectacular £175 million-per-year contract with the Saudi Arabian team.

Following his controversial and damaging interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo, 37, left Manchester United and became a free agent. His critics are now claiming on social media that he is “so done” with elite football after moving to the Middle East.

A deal for Ronaldo was officially confirmed by Al-Nassr on Friday after weeks of rumours, and the 37-year-old footballer signed a hefty two-year agreement with the Saudi club that would likely make him the highest-paid player in history.

Cristiano Ronaldo joins Saudi Arabia team Al-Nassr

After unilaterally terminating his contract with United, Ronaldo reportedly pushed for a move to a Champions League team but no deal seems to materialize in European sport.

The 37-year-old, who scored three goals in 16 games for Man United this season, was not able to sway Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Napoli, or AC Milan to make a move for him, according to Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes.

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Ronaldo received a warning from Ten Hag for quitting a friendly match against Rayo Vallecano in July 2022 and for refusing to enter the game against Tottenham in October, which ended in a 2-0 victory.

After his journey at Manchester United ended and he could not get a club in Europe, Ronaldo agreed to accept Al-Nassr’s deal.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher expressed their “sadness” at the transfer, claiming that it signaled the end of Ronaldo’s time competing at the highest level.

Although his choice has drawn criticism, Ferdinand believes it will benefit his former teammate after a dismal end to his time at Old Trafford.

The criticism of Ronaldo has perplexed the former Man United and England defender, especially in light of the appreciation some of the Premier League’s finest players received when they left Europe.

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand and Ronaldo during their time at Manchester United

Ferdinand stated, “I’m thrilled for him that he’s finally happy,” during an interview with FIVE on Vibe. “One of the most crucial things for any football player, regardless of level, is to be happy and to feel at ease in their surroundings”, he added.

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“He hasn’t been content in a long, so I’m glad he’s about to discover it, even if it’s in a place that not many people anticipated he would visit.

“But what a chance and what an adventure it would be for him to travel to Saudi Arabia and play in a new league a league that is, by the way, very competitive.

“It was wonderful to see David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard transferred to MLS. What a way to end their professional careers by earning excellent salaries and moving to a league with less competition.

“Let them go; they merit it. I only encountered that in the news. However, it is terrible and disgraceful since it is Saudi Arabia.

“Let the guy go and enjoy life; let him go and live. He’s bringing his family on a brand-new adventure to discover a different culture.

“No man had earned the right to the transfer more than the Portuguese great player, according to Rio Ferdinand.”

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand speaking on Ronaldo for joining Al-Nassr

The Saudi Pro League team tweeted to announce Ronaldo’s signing: “The world’s greatest athlete officially signed with Al-Nassr,” adding that Ronaldo would also serve as an ambassador.

According to reports in Saudi Arabia, one of his duties as an ambassador will be to support Saudi Arabia’s joint candidacy with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 World Cup.

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What’s next for Cristiano Ronaldo?

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner might make his Al-Nassr debut against Al-Ta’ee in their next Saudi Pro League matchup on January 5.

After finalizing a shocking transfer worth an estimated 200 million euros, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will be introduced to thousands of supporters at Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr club on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said.

According to club spokesman Al-Walid Al-Muhaidib, the 37-year-old great and five-time Ballon d’Or winner would arrive late on Monday with his family, media, and technical staff.

Ronaldo’s contract extension until June 2025 is just the latest entry into elite sports by oil-rich Saudi Arabia, which has also acquired English club Newcastle United and entered Formula One, boxing, and golf.

One official who didn’t want to be identified because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media said that Al Nassr expects the stadium to be packed for the unveiling.

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