Cristiano Ronaldo: Saudi League Leaders Al Hilal Boss Opens Up on Why Ronaldo Joined Al Nassr

Cristiano Ronaldo: Saudi League Leaders Al Hilal Boss Opens Up on Why Ronaldo Joined Al Nassr

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at November 22, 2023 at 5:57 PM
In this article:
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  • Cristiano Ronaldo could have joined Al-Hilal instead of Al-Nassr
  • The Portuguese phenom made the odd yet lucrative decision to swap Europe for the Middle East in January this year
  • In hindsight, the move has proven to be a wise decision, both for the player and the Saudi Pro League

Al-Hilal president Fahad ben Nafel once disclosed a near-miss deal involving Cristiano Ronaldo.

The football luminary, who became the head of the Saudi Pro League glitterati following his transfer to Al-Nassr in January 2023, was almost a part of Al-Hilal, the blue-clad side from Riyadh.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Al-Nassr, Al Hilal, Saudi Pro League
Cristiano Ronaldo could have joined Al-Hilal ahead of Al-Nassr, according to the club president of the Blue Waves. Photos by Adam Nurkiewicz and Yasser Bakhsh
Source: Getty Images

Ronaldo, 38, took the football world by surprise when he chose the Knights of Najd for his next chapter following a turbulent conclusion to his Manchester United return.

His arrival has since transformed the Middle East into an appealing destination, enticing other top-tier talents like Karim Benzema, Neymar Jr, and Sadio Mane.

Ronaldo collapsed move to Al-Hilal

Interestingly, before Ronaldo's unexpected move to Al-Nassr, it was disclosed by the president that Al-Hilal had initiated the pursuit of the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

“Yes, we negotiated with Ronaldo,” he said on the Thamanya YouTube channel via One Football. “The problem was not in the money or the principle.
Explaining why the Blue Waves failed to sign Ronaldo, Fahad ben Nafel said: “Al-Hilal is able to bring in the stars of the world, but it was in the decision of the Sports Arbitration Center that prevented us from registering the players.
“We did not stop negotiating with the players despite the decision to ban, but we were delaying entering the final stage of the negotiations until the ban was lifted.”

Ronaldo's performance in Saudi

Ever since his transition to the Saudi Pro League, the ex-Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus star has showcased an exceptional performance.

He's regained his top form, rattling the back of the net with rampant rapidity. According to Transfermarkt, Ronaldo has reached 41 goal contributions (30 goals, 11 assists) since his arrival at Al-Nassr.

In the current season, he's topping both the goal-scoring and assists charts in the SPL, aiming to guide Al-Nassr to their 10th league title and pursue success in the AFC Champions League.

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Ronaldo to face Messi in final showdown?

Sports Brief also reported that Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr will face Lionel Messi's Inter Miami next February in the Riyadh Season Cup for what could be the final showdown of the global football icons.

Last January, Ronaldo made his first appearance in Saudi Arabia following his move to Al Nassr with a Riyadh All-Star XI that lost 5-4 to a Paris Saint-Germain side featuring Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Sergio Ramos.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.