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Everything You Need to Know About Al-Nassr

Last Updated: December 31, 2022
The Saudi Arabian club is reportedly closing in on a deal that could make Cristiano Ronaldo the highest-paid athlete in the world.

UPDATE 12/30: Al-Nassr have announced the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo. Click here for Boardroom’s full breakdown of his reported contract details with the club.

After a tumultuous, less-than-one-year reunion at his former club, Cristiano Ronaldo is a free agent.

With multiple opportunities available to stay in Europe as well as the possibility of making a move stateside to play in the MLS, a looming question following the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be where the Portuguese star will eventually call home. Those aforementioned destinations sound nice, but money talks. And Ronaldo, who in 2020 became the first active team-sport player to surpass $1 billion in career earnings, reportedly picked up on the first ring.

The decorated athlete is set to agree to a record-breaking $525 million deal with Saudi Arabian football club Al-Nassr FC, according to multiple reports. CR7 will also benefit from a signing bonus and financial incentives from advertising in the reported 2.5-year contract. Should the reports prove to be true, the approximately $210 million annual salary would make Ronaldo the highest-paid athlete in the world.

Though his team has since denied the rumors, it still begs the question: What would a Saudi Arabian club want with a washed-up, 37-year-old influencer who starts every match on the bench? Better yet, who is this somewhat unheard-of club willing to front half a billion dollars for Ronaldo?

Boardroom explores.

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Al-Nassr At a Glance

Ronaldo would arguably be the most well-known face on the roster, but who else boasts some recognition outside of the Saudi Arabian market? Naturally, the squad is made up of mostly Saudi-born athletes, but others have some notoriety outside of the Middle East.

Ghislain Konan, the 28-year-old Ivorian international, plays left back for the club, while former Villareal and Marseille center back Álvaro González Soberón joined the club in August 2022 on a one-year deal. Finally, Vincent Aboubakar, the forward who helped Cameroon become the only African side to defeat Brazil at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, rounds out the more well-known players on the squad.

Last year, Al-Nassr finished third behind Al-Ittihad and champions Al-Hilal. In the King Cup, they were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Al-Hilal. In the AFC Champions League, Al-Nassr made it to the semifinals but were once again defeated by Al-Hilal.

Al-Nassr Club History & Accolades

Founded in 1955, Al-Nassr FC are based in Saudi’s capital Riyadh. Nicknamed Al-Aalami (The International Club) or Faris Najd (Knights of Najd), the Saudi Pro League club has won:

  • Nine domestic titles
  • Six King’s Cups
  • Three Crown Prince’s Cups
  • Three Federation Cups
  • Two Saudi Super Cups

Currently second in the table behind Al-Shabab, the team is managed by Rudi José Garcia. A former midfielder, Garcia’s previous managerial stints include Serie A club Roma and Ligue 1 organizations Marseille and Lyon. Al-Nassr’s home colors are yellow and blue and they play at the King Saud University Stadium, otherwise known as Mrsool Park. Contrary to the historical aspect that was Old Trafford, Mrsool Park was built between 2011-2014 and opened in May 2015.

What’s the Fit for Ronaldo at Al-Nassr?

Besides being the most experienced and decorated person on the team, Ronaldo’s presence brings somewhat of a winning mentality. Throughout his storied career, he’s notched records that won’t be broken for decades and individual trophies that most clubs would only dream of collectively winning. Previous teammates have lauded the privilege of playing alongside him, and Ronaldo’s been coached by some of the best managers in football.

However, we’ve all been witness to Ronaldo’s wrath these last few months. The chastising of current United boss Erik ten Hag. The storming off the pitch when things remotely don’t go his way. There’s a reason why most European clubs don’t want the liability of him in the dressing room. A fantastic player does not translate into a suitable leader, and many feel Ronaldo’s attitude is not worth the headache and eventual tongue-lashing that could follow.

Still, the father of six could enter Saudi Arabia with allies on his side. Out of the 15 members of Al-Nassr’s technical staff, 11 are Portuguese. Not to mention, he could bring some television coverage to markets outside the Middle East.

There’s a curious appeal as to whether Ronaldo will succeed in Saudi Arabia. Regardless of the money and the undeniable attention he’ll receive during his tenure, if this rumor is eventually confirmed, the desire to wonder if one of the greatest to ever play can transform a rather unknown club into international dominance will not go unnoticed.

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today and, most recently, Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.