Friday, 06/01/2023 08:11

Every second counts for Cristiano

Cristiano Ronaldo will wear the number seven, of course, at his new club Al Nassr. Photo courtesy of Al Nassr FC

Paul Kennedy

On average it will take you about five minutes to read this column. It’s between 500 and 600 words, and most people read at a pace of about 125 words per minute, give or take.

So bear that in mind when I tell you that in those five minutes, if you can stick it out all the way to the end, Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly have earned $9,240.

His salary at his new club, Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, is thought to be a whopping $213 million per year. After a few basic calculations, it works out somewhere in the region of $1,848 a minute.

That’s $30 a second and I’ve not even touched upon the huge amount of advertisement and sponsorship deals that are bound to fall into his lap in Saudi.

There’s an old joke that when someone is earning so much money, it begs the question: “Are they actually happy?”

Gag being, on that much money, then of course they are happy. But I’m not so sure in this instance.

Ronaldo is certainly one of the greatest footballers of my generation, and although his best years are behind him, I think he may have been a little disappointed that there were not that many suitors in Europe looking to snap him up.

So instead he’s joined Al Nassr, who currently sit top of the Saudi Premier League.

The team from Riyadh is the most successful in the country. At the domestic level, the club has won nine Premier League titles, six King's Cups, three Crown Prince's Cups, three Federation Cups, and two Saudi Super Cups.

At the international level, they have won two GCC Champions Leagues and earned a historic Asian double in 1998 by claiming both the Asian Cup Winners' Cup and the Asian Super Cup.

Pretty impressive I guess, but for Ronaldo, he won’t be facing the same kind of Premier League or European challengers at his new club.

In fact, it’s going to be nothing more than a Ronaldo swansong to add even more cash to his bulging bank account before he finally decides to hang up his boots, and that’s a shame.

You see for me, I always favoured Ronaldo over Messi in the greatest player debate, but after the way his career capitulated, all by his own hand, at Manchester United, he went down in my estimation.

There’s a famous saying in football that no player is bigger than the club, which was certainly the case at Old Trafford. Ronaldo spoke out against United on national television and not long before he’d removed his microphone, United announced they were sacking him.

But at Saudi he’ll turn that saying on its head as he is bigger than the club. Sure, he’ll sell shirts, put more bums on seats at the Mrsool Park stadium (which incidentally only has a capacity of 25,000), and hopefully will influence some of the other Al Nassr players.

However if you think he’s going there to further his career, then think again, he’s going purely and simply to further his bank balance, not that it actually needs any more, and that’s sad. VNS

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