Cristiano Ronaldo will not finish his career in Saudi Arabia, and will play again in Europe – according to Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner left European football in ignominious fashion at the end of last year when his contract was terminated by Manchester United following a controversial television interview in which he launched a withering attack on the Red Devils and their coach, Erik ten Hag.
At the time Ronaldo said: “People should hear the truth. Yes, I feel betrayed. Some people don’t want me here not only this year, but last year too.
“I don’t know what’s going on. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left I have seen not evolution in the club. The progress was zero.
“I don’t have respect for him (Ten Hag) because he doesn’t show respect for me. If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”
After failing to secure another club in Europe, reports linked Ronaldo with Al-Nassr – and he signed a mega deal with the Saudi Arabian club following Portugal’s exit from the World Cup.
The former Sporting, Real Madrid and Juventus man put his name to a two-year contract with the club, which many felt would take him to his retirement.
At 37, Ronaldo’s days at the top level look over – but Garcia feels the superstar forward will have one final dance in European football.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a positive addition, as he helps to disperse defenders,” Garcia said. “He is one of the best players in the world.
“He will not finish his career at Al-Nassr, he will return to Europe.”
After a friendly outing against Lionel Messi’s Paris Saint-Germain, Ronaldo made his competitive Al-Nassr debut in a 1-0 win over Al-Ettifaq.
His second appearance did not go according to script, as his side were beaten in the Saudi Super Cup by Al-Ittihad on Thursday.
Ronaldo came in for criticism following the game, as he missed a gilt-edged chance in the moments before Al-Ittihad hit a second goal.
“One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano’s missed opportunity in the first half,” Garcia said.
While it is a bedding-in period for Ronaldo, Garci’s comments will raise questions over the long-term plan and future for one of the greats of the game.
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