Skip to main content

Saudi soccer team reported to sign Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly sign with Riyadh's Al Nassr Football Club, for which landing the Portuguese superstar is a major win.
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has officially signed with Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr Football Club. 

CBS Sports, citing sources close to Al Nassr, reported Friday that Ronaldo signed a $75 million per year deal with the Riyadh-based club. Al-Arabiya also reported that Ronaldo signed with Al Nassr. Al Nassr later confirmed the signing. 



Ronaldo had been linked to Al Nassr for several weeks. The Spanish news site Marca reported back in November that Ronaldo was in talks to sign a huge deal with the club. The reported signing followed Ronaldo’s tumultuous exit from Manchester United in November. 

Why it matters: Ronaldo is the biggest star by far to sign with a team in the Saudi Pro League, and his participation will surely boost the league’s international prestige. 

"Ronaldo’s arrival to Al Nasser Riyadh is a new moment for Middle Eastern football, for Saudi football in for Arab football," soccer journalist Uri Levy told Al-Monitor. "It is deepening the connection between this part of the world to the very top of the most popular game." 

Ronaldo will be making much more than the other top players in the Saudi Pro League. Brazil’s Anderson Talisca, who also plays for Al Nassr, earns about $8 million per year. Matheus Pereira, another Brazilian, makes about $5 million per year playing for Al Hilal.

Signing Ronaldo is sure to sell more tickets in Saudi Arabia and the Saudi Pro League appears to be following a similar trajectory to Major League Soccer (MLS) in the United States. MLS is not one of the top leagues in the world by any stretch. However, MLS has stayed relevant  in recent years by signing many top European players toward the end of their careers, namely David Beckham, Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Theirry Henry, among others. Ronaldo is currently 37 years old.

Numerous other developments have similarly boosted soccer’s standing in the Arab world in 2022. Qatar hosted the World Cup this month, the first country in the region to do so. Saudi Arabia pulled off a historic upset against eventual champions Argentina at the tournament. 

The Moroccan team also advanced to the semifinals — the best result for any team from Africa or the Arabic-speaking world ever. 

Know more: Saudi Arabia is seeking to become a major player in world sports. The kingdom is also bidding to host the 2030 World Cup. Levy called the Ronaldo signing an "important benchmark" in Saudi Arabia's World Cup aspirations. 

The Saudi Public Investment Fund-backed LIV Golf concluded its first season at former US President Donald Trump’s Miami golf course in October. The breakaway league has landed several top golfers, in part due to the huge payments it offers. 

Saudi Arabia also released an esports strategy in September. Esports refers to competitive video game playing. 

Editor's note: this article was updated to include a tweet from Al Nassr Football Club.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

Text Alerts - Be the first to get breaking news, exclusives, and PRO content.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial