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Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo told why Saudi move would make sense as ex-Man Utd star Ighalo urges Portuguese to join him in Middle East

11:47 PM IST 04/12/22
Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal 2022 World Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo has been told why a move to Saudi Arabia could make sense for him, with ex-Manchester United star Odion Ighalo offering advice.
  • Portuguese released by Red Devils
  • Now available as a free agent
  • Various landing spots speculated on

WHAT HAPPENED? The Nigeria international, who spent 12 months on loan at Old Trafford between January 2020 and 2021, is plying his trade in the Middle East after initially linking up with Al Shabab and now turning out for Al Hilal. Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldo has seen a Saudi switch speculated on following his release by Premier League heavyweights United, and Ighalo believes a move could prove beneficial to all concerned.

WHAT THEY SAID: Ighalo has told The Athletic on the chances of Ronaldo joining him in Saudi Arabia: “You never can tell, I would love him to do that. I would love for him to come to Saudi because he would boost the league and add more fanbase to the league. People who aren’t already watching will start to engage with the league and see something they are missing.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Igahlo added on the options that an all-time great has to weigh up: “Cristiano Ronaldo is hugely ambitious and I think he will want to play in a Champions League team and end his career well, but you never can say. He has a decision to make. I wish him all the best in that decision and hopefully he does come to Saudi Arabia. Before I came, I thought the league would be a pushover but now, having played for two seasons, I know it’s one of the toughest in the region. Al Hilal won the AFC Champions League in 2019 and 2021 and qualified for the Club World Cup. The league is growing faster than I expected. More foreign players, coaches and the federation is backing it and you can see that reflected in the Saudi team.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? While Ronaldo is reported to have a lucrative offer on the table from the Middle East, the 37-year-old, who is currently on 2022 World Cup duty with Portugal, has also been linked with teams in England, Italy, Spain and United States.