Cristiano Ronaldo could return to the Premier League sooner than expected after a clause in his Al Nassr contract was revealed by a report.
Ronaldo is now officially an Al Nassr player after weeks of speculation regarding a move to the Saudi Arabian side. The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was a free agent after terminating his contract with Manchester United in November.
An interview with Piers Morgan prompted Ronaldo to admit he had no respect for Erik ten Hag, among other criticisms of his second spell at Old Trafford.
It took Ronaldo a while to find a new club, since he wanted to join a team competing in the Champions League. However, no suitor of the sort was willing to accommodate him.
Now, Ronaldo is continuing his career outside Europe, having committed to Al Nassr until 2025. By that point, he will be 40 years old. Therefore, the chances of him returning to a Champions League club further down the line appear to be even slimmer.
However, it has now emerged that Al Nassr have included a clause in Ronaldo’s contract that will allow him to return to that competition – but only with one specific club.
According to Marca, Ronaldo will have the option to join Newcastle United on loan if they qualify for the Champions League.
It is worth noting that Marca was one of the main sources claiming Ronaldo would be joining Al Nassr before the deal was announced. As far back as November 30, they said the Portugal international was close to moving there.
The claims were played down by other sources, but five days later, Marca reiterated that Ronaldo was going to become an Al Nassr player in January. Obviously, Ronaldo has ended up there after all.
Whether this claim about the Newcastle clause is true will be interesting to find out. It could be sensational to see Ronaldo back in the Premier League for an up-and-coming side.
Newcastle, of course, are 80% owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund. Therefore, they have senior figures with close ties to the country Ronaldo will be playing in now.
After 17 games, Newcastle are third in the Premier League table, which would be enough for them to reach the Champions League if they can keep it up.
Cristiano Ronaldo could help Newcastle on bigger stage
Hence, if they want to sign Ronaldo, there might be an added incentive for them to enjoy a strong second part of the season.
Up front, Newcastle currently have Alexander Isak, Callum Wilson and Chris Wood as their main options. Isak is the only one with Champions League experience, which was extremely brief; he made just one appearance in the competition for Borussia Dortmund in the 2017-18 season.
Ronaldo, in contrast, is the Champions League’s all-time leading goalscorer. Therefore, his experience would help Newcastle adapt to the higher level.
Their staff would have to ensure Ronaldo would not disrupt their growing harmony, as some feel he did after his return to Man Utd. But given the Saudi connection, perhaps their owners could be pushing for his arrival.
And it only being a loan deal might reduce any risks regarding their long-term project, in theory.
For now, this will just be speculation until Newcastle can cross the finishing line. There is a long way to go for them to confirm a top-four place yet. But it will be fascinating to see what happens – not just relating to Ronaldo – if they can finish there.
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