Al-Nassr confirm major Ronaldo U-turn despite star’s £340m contract

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Cristiano Ronaldo could be set for a blockbuster return to Europe following a stunning revelation by Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia. The Manchester United and Real Madrid icon was expected to end his career in Saudi Arabia following his £170million per-year switch to the Middle East.

But Garcia might have let slip on Ronaldo’s actual plans in a move that could upset Al-Nassr chiefs. The Saudi outfit had been confident that the veteran attacker would see out his playing days in the country.

Ronaldo has signed a two-year contract to play for Al-Nassr and will be 40 by the time his deal expires. He insisted that his work in Europe was ‘complete’ when he was unveiled to the fans of his new club.

But he could now return to the continent after an admission made by Garcia. The former Roma head coach 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.”

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It contradicts what Ronaldo said when he joined Al-Nassr. He told fans: “I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football. I feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia.”

Ronaldo’s first few weeks at Al-Nassr have not gone entirely to plan. The former Juventus star was forced to wait for his debut due to a registration issue and a one-match ban carried over from the Premier League.

The usually prolific 37-year-old has not scored in his opening two matches and was criticised by Garcia for missing a big chance in their last outing. Ronaldo squandered a huge opportunity as Al-Nassr were knocked out of the Saudi Super Cup.

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“One of the things that changed the course of the match was Cristiano’s missed opportunity in the first half,” Garcia said after the Riyahd outfit were beaten 3-1 by Al-Ittihad.

Ronaldo had initially wanted to remain in Europe following his axe by Man Utd in November. After a disappointing World Cup with Portugal, he trained at Real Madrid’s Valdebebas training base in the hope that watching coaches would hand him a Champions League lifeline.

But despite then-agent Jorge Mendes desperately trying to keep his client on the continent, no offer came. Ronaldo was then forced to take Al-Nassr up on their proposal of an eye-watering £170m per-year deal.

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