- Portuguese superstar released by Man Utd
- Joined Al-Nassr as a free agent
- Still wants to bolster medal collection
WHAT HAPPENED? The legendary Portuguese forward, who has five Ballon d’Or wins to his name, has signed the most lucrative contract in world football when moving to the Middle East as a free agent – following his release by Premier League giants Manchester United in November 2022. Questions have been asked of Ronaldo’s decision to walk away from the European game, but Kaka – a former team-mate of the all-time great at Real Madrid – can appreciate why the 37-year-old is eager to take on a new challenge as he remains very much a winner.
WHAT THEY SAID: Brazil icon Kaka has told Gazzetta dello Sport of Ronaldo’s desire to collect more medals taking him to the Middle East: “I think he wants to quit football by playing. I understand him, he is a special player. Players like him bring to the team a simple concept. Winning is not like losing. I have the feeling that many young players don’t understand this. If they win, it’s great, if not it doesn’t matter. It’s not like this. Maldini was a great example of this. He had won four Champions League and he wanted the fifth. Players like him make the difference, Zlatan can still be useful thanks to his mentality.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Legendary AC Milan defender Maldini played into his 40s at San Siro, while enigmatic Swedish striker Ibrahimovic is still on the Rossoneri’s books at the age of 41 and helped them to Serie A title glory in 2021-22.
IN THREE PHOTOS:Getty
WHAT NEXT? Ronaldo is showing no sign of slowing down as he edges towards a 40th birthday of his own, with Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia suggesting recently that an evergreen performer may have a return to Europe left in him before the day comes to hang up record-breaking boots.