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Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid boss Ancelotti defends 'club legend' Cristiano Ronaldo following Al-Nassr move criticism

17:36 GMT 10/01/2023
Ronaldo Ancelotti Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo signing for Al-Nassr is "fantastic for the club" Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
  • Ancelotti asked about Ronaldo move
  • Says it's 'fantastic' for Middle East
  • Los Blancos in the region for Spanish Super Cup

WHAT HAPPENED? The Madrid manager faced a litany of questions about Ronaldo penning a massive deal to play in Saudi Arabia, shortly after Real landed in the Middle East for the Spanish Super Cup. And Ancelotti defended the former Madrid star at a pre-match press conference, saying his signing was a big step for football in the region.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's a fantastic signing for [Al Nassr]," Ancelotti said. "We wish Cristiano all the best. He's a legend of our club."

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois also said Ronaldo's signature was vital for football in Saudi Arabia. "I think with the signing of Cristiano, you can see that it's a country that wants to improve in sports," Courtois said. "We've seen it with Formula One, we've seen it with other events, like us being here.

"We saw it at the World Cup. [Saudi Arabia] beat Argentina. Cristiano coming here is his own decision, but it shows Saudi Arabia wants to improve. It's important for the league that a player of his level has arrived."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo signed for Al-Nassr in December, agreeing on a contract that will pay him $75m (£61.1m) per year until the end of his deal in 2024. As part of the agreement, Ronaldo will serve in an ambassadorial role as Saudi Arabia launches a 2030 World Cup bid.


WHAT NEXT FOR ANCELOTTI? The Madrid manager will oversee his team in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final on Wednesday, as they take on struggling Valencia.