Cristiano Ronaldo has moved to clarify claims he is ready to quit Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr amid growing suggestions he is aiming to return to European football and with Newcastle among those being linked with his signature.
The legendary goalgrabber stunned the footballing world by moving to the Middle East in January on a simply ridiculous contract. Earning an eye-watering €200m a year contract, the star earns a staggering £470,000 a day at his new employers.
The move to Saudi came around after a very public condemnation of former club Manchester United. Speaking to Piers Morgan, he savaged the club, its owners and some of their players in a move that left the Red Devils with little choice but to rip up his contract.
Buy by washing his dirty linen in public, Ronaldo probably counted himself out of a move to another European giant; hence the subsequent move to Saudi.
And he’s found his goalscoring touch in the Middle East again, scoring 14 goals in 19 appearances for Al-Nassr.
However, his time in Riyadh has already been dogged by rumours that Ronaldo wants out. Failing to settle with his family, together with a language barrier and playing in what is perceived as an inferior league, has led to suggestions that Ronaldo could quit this summer.
To that end, suggestions have arisen of a potential move to Newcastle. The Magpies are back in the Champions League after a 20-year absence. Furthermore, they are one of a few clubs in world football who could finance Ronaldo’s salary demands.
And while Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has moved to dismiss the rumours, suggestions of a move elsewhere have reared their head.
Ronaldo responds to claims he’s to quit Al-Nassr
Indeed, Real Madrid are among those mentioned, while one wealthy business wants to fund a move to Germany.
However, the 38-year-old Portugal hero has spoken out on suggestions he’s pushing for a return to Europe.
“I am happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here,” Ronaldo said.
Furthermore, and more critically, Ronaldo has explained his beliefs about the Saudi Pro League, for which his Al-Nassr side are second.
“And in my opinion if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world.
“I will be part of your world, your culture. I will be here, I hope I make the people enjoy through my games, my performance, and to win things. But again, thank you for welcoming me, and I will try to give my best during the time that I will be here.”
Asked about the differences between life in Saudi and mainland Europe, Ronaldo pointed to a difference in training regimes.
“One example is in Europe we train more in the morning.
“But here we train in the afternoon, or evening and in Ramadan we train at 10 at night. So this is so strange, but as I tell you these situations are part of an experience, memories.
“I like to live these moments because you learn with these things. It is difficult, but it is nothing I have not seen before.
“My experience so far is that Saudi fans they really love football and like to live the life and it is good and I am so happy until now.”