Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will not be able to play for Al-Nassr for the moment because the Saudi club has exceeded its quota of foreign players, officials from the entity told AFP on Thursday.
The 37-year-old Portuguese striker, considered one of the best footballers of all time, had stated in Ryad on Tuesday that he wanted to play as soon as possible, starting with the home game against Al Ta’ee, initially scheduled for Thursday and postponed to Friday.
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But Ronaldo, whose contract until June 2025 is estimated at 200 million euros ($211 million), is the ninth foreign player to sign for Al-Nassr, surpassing the limit of eight set by the Saudi soccer federation.
“Al-Nassr has not registered him because he does not have a vacant place for a foreign player,” a club official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
“A foreign player must leave for Ronaldo to be registered, through a transfer or through the termination of a contract by mutual decision,” he added.
Among the foreigners from Al-Nassr are the Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, the Brazilians Luiz Gustavo and Anderson Talisca, and the Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar.
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According to the Saudi media, the Uzbek midfielder Jaloliddin Masharipov is the one with the most options of giving up his place to the five-time Ballon d’Or.
“Negotiations are ongoing about the sale of one of the players, but they are not yet in the final phase,” said another club official, confirming that Ronaldo had not been registered this Thursday, a few hours before the match against Al Ta ‘eee.
The match was postponed to Friday due to “an electrical fault” according to the authorities.
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Those responsible for Al-Nassr did not express themselves about the sanction imposed on Ronaldo in November, when he belonged to Manchester United. The player was suspended for two matches for throwing away a young fan’s mobile phone in a loss against Everton.
This suspension, decided by the disciplinary commission of the English Federation, can be extrapolated to his new club, regardless of the country, the English Federation specified.
Received on Tuesday by 25,000 spectators at the Mrsool Park stadium in Ryad, Ronaldo affirmed that his arrival in Saudi Arabia does not mark the end of his career, but a new stage in his hunt for all kinds of records.
“In Europe my work is finished, I won everything, I have played in the most important clubs,” he said.
The NGO Amnesty International expressed on Wednesday its wish that the Portuguese attacker use his status as a soccer star to speak out on issues related to human rights in the ultra-conservative kingdom.