Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly agreed to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr in a deal that will see him become the highest paid sportsperson of all time .
The Portugal international caused a huge stir earlier this month when he criticised Manchester United, manager Erik ten Hag and top club executives in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Reports in the summer indicated that Ronaldo spent most of the transfer window attempting to engineer a move away from Old Trafford after they failed to qualifty for the Champions League.
Ten Hag always publicly insisted that the 37-year-old was part of his plans for the season but Ronaldo only managed four Premier League starts under the Dutchman.
And his lack of playing time came to a head when he refused to come off the bench in United’s 2-0 victory over Tetteham in October.
That marked the beginning of the end for Ronaldo and his interview with Morgan was the final straw for the Man It’s hierarchy, who negotiated a mutual termination of his contract.
Ronaldo, who is on international duty with Portugal at the World Cup, is now free to join another club anywhere in the world and a report claims he has decided his next destination.
Spanish publication Marca claim that Ronaldo is ‘close to completing his transfer’ to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr with the club set to pay him €200m (£173m) a year.
Ronaldo is prepared to accept a lower ‘competitive range’ if it is ‘more than compensated by the economic aspect’, which it certainly is in this potential deal.
With football growing in the Middle East, the leaders of the Saudi league hope that they can ‘relaunch the competition’ by bringing Ronaldo to the Gulf.
‘Al Nassr is about to close’ the deal for Ronaldo with ‘no legal obstacle that prevents it’ and no ‘offer outside the market’ that can compete.
Rarely out of the headlines, Ronaldo was branded a “cheat” by former Premier League striker Chris Sutton following his “ridiculous” performance for Portugal against Ghana last Thursday in a 3-2 win.
Sutton told the Daily Mail: “Look it is not the first time is it. I have to say the VAR officials are absolute bottle jobs.
“It isn’t good play by Ronaldo. It is a terrible example to young kids everwhere around the world. Everyone will be tumbling over. He is a great player. But it was cheating. I thought the officials had to be stronger.
“It was embarrassing really how they missed it. I was at the Brazil game and I saw the footage. Blimey – you don’t have to watch it many times to see that he went over.
“Totally manufactured. Out of order. The VAR officials shouldn’t miss that.
“I was reading comments saying it was a penalty. It is ridiculous and cheating. I know he has his fans within the media and around the world but come on. That was awful.”