Cristiano Ronaldo Reveals He Declined An Offer To Play In Australia
— 9 January 2023

Cristiano Ronaldo Reveals He Declined An Offer To Play In Australia

— 9 January 2023

The saga has finally come to an end. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has officially decided to continue his playing career in Saudi Arabia – a country he hilariously referred to as “South Africa” during his opening press conference with Al Nassr – for an annual salary reportedly worth US$200 million (AU$297.5 million). However, Cristiano Ronaldo revealed he was offered “many opportunities” to play in Europe, Brazil, the US, and even Australia.

Donning Al Nassr’s yellow and blue shirt marks the first time CR7 has been contracted to play outside of Europe throughout his storied career. After his messy departure from Manchester United and disappointing turn at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, he’ll now join the 18-time Saudi Pro League champions at Mrsool Park.

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Ronaldo claimed that the reason he has accepted this offer is to “give a different vision of this country and football” and “make you all happy.” Becoming the highest-paid football player in history (and highest-paid athlete in the world), living with a 20% flat rate on tax-adjusted profit for non-Saudis, as well as being treated like royalty in general might have also been contributing factors. Maybe.

Signing a marquee player such as Cristiano Ronaldo represents Saudi Arabia’s growing interest in the sport. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund acquired Premier League club Newcastle United back in 2021 and is even expected to make a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup alongside Egypt and Greece.

“He is the best player in football history so it is normal he will be the highest in terms of cost or salary,” said Al Nassr president Musalli Almuammar.

“This is something that he really deserves, so the amount of money he will take, he really deserves.”

The mention of Australia among the list of spurned countries was more than a little surprising, to say the least. Australian Professional Leagues CEO Danny Townsend recently confirmed negotiations were had while speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald

“We had interesting discussions, and there was genuine interest, but it’s clear he has other priorities at this stage.”

Playing in the A-Leagues would have surely given Ronaldo the chance to “give a different vision of this country and football” and make us all happy, albeit with far fewer commas in his overall salary. The highest-paid A-League Men player is Portuguese forward – and former teammate of Cristiano Ronaldo – Luis Nani, who apparently earns around $2.1 million per year with the Melbourne Victory. The Top 100 earners in the A-League net a combined $25.1 million annually.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Australia
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The financials of the APL were called into question when the A-Leagues controversially struck a deal with NSW Government to host the grand final in Sydney for the next three years; which certainly seems like a far cry from landing the highest-paid athlete in the world. We don’t have any idea what they actually offered Cristiano Ronaldo to play in Australia, but we know that seven figures aren’t quite CR7 figures.

Despite this, Townsend has reiterated that “the feelers are out” on trying to bring a premier name in football to Australia. Perth Glory was unable to make a successful bid to sign Zlatan Ibrahimović for a brief six-game stint back in 2019, although there is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding a potential Luis Suarez signing in the near future.

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