Cristiano Ronaldo: Astonishing deal agreed with January 1 arrangement paving way for renewed Lionel Messi battle

Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected during the English FA Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough Credit: Alamy
Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected during the English FA Cup fourth round match between Manchester United and Middlesbrough Credit: Alamy

Cristiano Ronaldo is one step away from signing for his next club after Manchester United – and it has opened up the prospect of him directly competing with Lionel Messi again.

Ronaldo is currently a free agent after Man Utd terminated his second spell at the club by mutual consent. The striker had grown unsettled at Old Trafford after a failure to qualify for the Champions League and then the start of a rocky relationship with Erik ten Hag.

Now, Man Utd have rid themselves of the burden Ronaldo was becoming, despite being their top scorer last season.

Both parties are having to move forward, with Man Utd on the lookout for a replacement in January and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner trying to find a new club.

He struggled to find anyone willing to satisfy his Champions League demand in the summer. Therefore, there has been a growing feeling that Ronaldo will be leaving Europe behind as his next step.

And according to Marca, it is now pretty much all sorted that he will be moving to Saudi Arabia with Al Nassr.

Ronaldo recently received a formal offer from Al Nassr worth €500million (£430million) over a two-and-a-half-year contract. It quickly became clear that it would be one he would be likely to accept.

Several reports surfaced afterwards indicating that the Portugal legend was still holding out for European offers. A Premier League stay with Chelsea came into the equation, for example.

However, Marca have now updated their original reveal and claim that Ronaldo “will play for Al Nassr from January 1.”

His debut, in theory, could follow on January 5, when they host Al Tai in the Saudi Professional League.

Ronaldo will sign a two-and-a-half-year contract once he concludes his World Cup commitments with Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo could be followed to Saudi Arabia by Lionel Messi

CBS Sports are also reporting that Al Nassr are confident of securing Ronaldo’s signature on a base wage worth around £60million per season. Their senior officials have attended all of Portugal’s World Cup games in Qatar, while continuing dialogue with Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes.

Interestingly, it has also emerged that Ronaldo’s long-term Ballon d’Or rival Lionel Messi could end up in the Saudi Professional League himself.

According to CBS Sports reporter Ben Jacobs, Messi has become a target for Al Hilal, who will be backed by government support.

The Argentina icon is not making any decision about his future until after the World Cup. His contract with Paris Saint-Germain, though, is due to expire at the end of the season.

Messi will have several options to take into consideration, including a move to the MLS with Inter Miami or a renewal in the French capital, but Al Hilal could be among those he has to consider.

For now, their interest is not as advanced as Al Nassr’s is for Ronaldo. In that case, a conclusion appears to be very close.

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