Cristiano Ronaldo recently finished his first season with Al-Nassr in the Saudi League following his unceremonious release from Manchester United in January.
The 37-year-old forward won everything in Europe’s top leagues, winning four UEFA Champion League titles, seven domestic league titles and five Ballon d’OR awards. But Ronaldo has decided to officially close the door on a return to European soccer after his lucrative two-year deal expires in 2025.
Ronaldo isn’t the only soccer superstar that left Europe behind this year.
When Lionel Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired in June, Messi became a free agent for the second time in his career. The Saudi League had planned to lure Messi to join his longtime rival Ronaldo with a whopping $400 million per year offer, but Messi instead joined Major League Soccer to play for Inter Miami CF.
Ronaldo was scrutinized for leaving to play in Saudi Arabia while Messi was still playing in Europe, but now the Portuguese striker feels he’s playing in the more competitive league due to the amount of European stars that have joined the Saudi Pro League this summer.
Ronaldo’s Al Nassr lost to Spanigh side Celta Vigo 5-0 in a friendly on Monday. Messi has yet to make his debut for Inter Miami.