Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to leave Manchester United in the summer, and one of his suitors was Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal.
The Portuguese international did not have clubs lining up for his signature like his prior years. The Saudi offer was one of few. Yet, Ronaldo made a crucial mistake in rejecting the offer. Now, those around the world can see what the club offered the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
The club’s president revealed on Tuesday that he spent all summer trying to sign the veteran forward. It was an offer worth $228 million, which equates to $1.9 million a week. Al-Hilal wanted to sign Cristiano Ronaldo for two seasons.
Soccer’s largest contract
Champions League football was the motivation behind Cristiano Ronaldo choosing to turn Al-Hilal down. Given the Portuguese captain’s history of wanting to be paid more than Lionel Messi, it’s unusual that he turned down such a contract.
Signing with Al-Hilal would have made Cristiano Ronaldo the highest-paid soccer player ever. Yet, with Manchester United offering only Europa League football, Ronaldo has made a huge mistake.
He can’t excel in an elite team any longer
There is a reason Erik ten Hag relegated Cristiano Ronaldo to the bench. Whilst he can still score regular goals, he lacks in team contribution. This isn’t furthering on the lazy assertion that he doesn’t press. Moreover, an assessment based on how much better Manchester United are as a team without him.
Fluid movement from attacking players is crucial to the Dutch coach. United turned their season around by relying upon Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and new boy Antony. Ronaldo can’t run like these younger players. Instead, he needs the ball to feet. Sebastien Haller was a bigger No. 9 who thrived with Ten Hag. At least he could run in behind when called upon. Cristiano Ronaldo can’t do that any longer.
This is precisely why no Champions League teams took a serious look at him. Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Chelsea all had links in the transfer rumor mill. However, none made a concrete move, with Atletico supporters deliberately stating their opposition to the player.
Cristiano Ronaldo can’t function in a team that is capable of winning the Champions League. He can, however, stand out in a mediocre one.
He was Manchester United’s leading scorer in 2021/22 for this reason. Joining Al-Hilal would have given him the conditions to enjoy football again.
Cristiano Ronaldo would thrive in Saudi Arabia
Accepting your own limitations is a difficult skill for almost any human being. It is even more challenging when you’re as competitive and driven as Ronaldo. Telling him he no longer belongs in the Champions League would have fallen on deaf ears. However, it’s the truth. He may be ‘Mr. Champions League,’ but those prime years are behind him.
Signing with Al-Hilal would have made him infinitely richer. It would have increased his profile spectacularly in the Middle East. Finally, it would have been perfect for him from a footballing standpoint.
The level in the Saudi Pro League is poor. It is nothing compared to the Premier League. The league’s biggest star right now is Odion Ighalo. Ronaldo would have breezed through defenses.
Abderrazak Hamdallah holds the record for most goals in a Saudi season. His haul of 34 would have been broken by Cristiano Ronaldo with ease.
Additionally, Ronaldo playing in Saudi Arabia would have been akin to Mario Jardel’s wonderful season-long spell in Turkey with Galatasaray. He was facing weaker defenses and scored for fun.
Playing at the 2022 World Cup is crucial to Ronaldo. It is the one trophy he has yet to win. However, sitting on Manchester United’s bench won’t get him ready for the tournament.
Signing with Al-Hilal would have at least kept him ready and in-form. Turning down the outrageous Saudi offer may have cost Cristiano Ronaldo his last chance at World Cup glory.
PHOTO: IMAGO / HMB-Media
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