After telling Manchester United that the Europa League is a special form of hell reserved for the worst kinds of sinners and that he no longer wants to play at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo's escape plan has been left in tatters with Chelsea, Bayern Munich and PSG all telling the 37-year-old thanks, but no thanks.
However, one extremely lucrative offer remains on the table for CR7. According to multiple sources, an unnamed Saudi Arabian club has offered Ronaldo a two-year contract worth over $250 million.
$125 million per year has to be tempting ($17K an hour, over $400K per day, $2.5M every week and $12.5M each month). Kylian Mbappé just became the world's highest paid soccer player after signing an extension that pays him $50 million each year, so Ronaldo would return to the summit despite being six months away from his 38th birthday.
He could also make a return to the Champions League, albeit of the Asian variety. Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal is the defending AFC Champions League winner with Moussa Marega and Matheus Pereira on the roster, while there's also spots for Al-Shabab, Al-Taawoun and Al-Faisaly in the 2022 group stage.
Without Ronaldo, Manchester United opened its preseason with the Red Devils' most celebrated victory in recent memory — a 4-0 beatdown of rival Liverpool that earned Erik ten Hag his first trophy as manager, the Bangkok Centenary Cup.
THE BANGKOK CENTURY CUP CHAMPIONS, YOU'LL NEVER SING THAT pic.twitter.com/sFfqq3S2KT— Trey (@UTDTrey) July 12, 2022
Ronaldo's absence has been officially put down to "family reasons" but Ronaldo is really just busy doing what he always does: working out.
HARD WORK pic.twitter.com/NBxQI0TuL6— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) July 14, 2022
Manchester United has three more friendlies on its tour of south-east Asia and Australia. The club plays Melbourne Victory on Friday, Crystal Palace at Melbourne Cricket ground on July 19 and Aston Villa on July 23 at Optus Stadium in Perth.
Would Cristiano Ronaldo Transfer To Saudi Arabia?
At this point in time, the answer is a hard no. Ronaldo isn't motivated by money at this stage of his career — he's already surpassed $1 billion in career earnings and has a net worth of $500 million — and it appears evident that he simply wants to spend his last couple years competing for the game's biggest prizes.
Ronaldo has been honest in his communication with Man United by telling the club his biggest motivator is winning a sixth Champions League title. He's not eating all this seaweed just to finish fourth in the Premier League, and Ronaldo's certainly not alone in this feeling — Lionel Messi has made his pursuit of a fifth Champions League crown his ultimate club ambition.
But while Messi is placed to do that at PSG this year and perhaps next (PSG has reportedly offered him an extension through 2023-24), Ronaldo is now in limbo despite United maintaining its stance that the Portuguese is a vital piece of the upcoming season. (Although this rumored Saudi Arabian club is also proposing a $35M transfer fee for United to soften the blow.)
The Premier League transfer window doesn't close until Monday, Sept. 1, and there's still a chance that Ronaldo will warm to United's approach this summer. Feyenoord left back Tyrell Malacia remains the only signing, and the latest on Frenkie de Jong is that the Dutchman is blocking a $75 million move because he doesn't want to leave Barcelona.
But United's expected to sign free agent midfielder Christian Eriksen and Ajax's Argentine center back Lisandro Martínez in the coming days.