Cristiano Ronaldo says he is a unique player and declared “in Europe, my work is done” as the Portuguese revealed he turned down several top sides to join Al Nassr at his unveiling with the Saudi Arabian club.
Ronaldo has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award on five occasions and the Champions League five times, while he also counts multiple Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A titles among an enviable trophy haul.
Following an acrimonious exit from Manchester United in November, Ronaldo said he had been courted by clubs from around the world, but he put pen to paper on a deal until 2025 with Al Nassr.
A number of outlets have reported the former United, Real Madrid and Juventus forward’s salary as upwards of £160million per year, making the 37-year-old the highest paid footballer in history.
At his first public appearance for his new club, Ronaldo told a press conference: “I’m feeling very good. I’m so proud to make this big decision in my life.
“In Europe, my work is done; I won everything, I played at the most important clubs in Europe and for me now, it’s a new challenge.
“This is a great opportunity. Nobody knows this but I had many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, in Australia, in the US and even in Portugal.
“Many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club to develop not only the football but other parts of this amazing country.”
Ronaldo wore a suit as he addressed the assembled media, with the only questions coming from an Al Nassr official, before changing into his new club’s kit for his presentation at Mrsool Park stadium.
Ronaldo added: “I’m a unique player. I beat all the records there. I want to beat a few records here. This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal.
“Many people speak and give their opinions but they really do know nothing about football. It’s not the end of my career to come to Saudi Arabia. I really don’t worry about what the people say.”
Ronaldo, whose United contract was terminated in November shortly after criticising the club in a TV interview with Piers Morgan, was greeted by thousands of ecstatic fans as he walked on to a stage on the Mrsool Park pitch.
He said in a brief on-stage interview “I will give my best for this club” before posing for photographs and then autographing and kicking balls into the assembled crowd.
Chants of ‘Ronaldo’ and his trademark ‘siu’ celebration echoed constantly around the stadium before the presentation ended with Ronaldo joined on the pitch by his children and partner Georgina Rodriguez.
Al Nassr head coach Rudi Garcia, formerly of Roma, Marseille and Lyon, hailed Ronaldo as a terrific coup for the club.
“Cristiano is one of the best players in the world, he’s a legend,” Garcia said. “In my life, I’ve seen that the great, great players like Cristiano are the easiest to manage.
“We are here to win, nothing else.”