Cristiano Ronaldo was paraded by new club Al Nassr in Riyadh this evening. The Portugal captain, who has signed a deal until 2024, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday ahead of being presented to the fans at the club’s Mrsool Park.

Speaking at his press conference in the afternoon, Ronaldo spoke of helping to grow football on and off the pitch in Saudi Arabia. The former Sporting man believes his time in Europe is over, while revealing he turned down offers from across the world in order to join Al Nassr.

“I feel very good,” Ronaldo said when welcomed to the club. “I’m so proud to make this big decision in my life, in football. In Europe, my work is done. I won everything, I played for the most important clubs in Europe. And for me now is a new challenge in Asia. I’m grateful that Al Nassr gave me this opportunity to help develop, not only for [current] football but for the younger generation, the generation of women. For me it’s a challenge, but in the same way I feel very happy and very proud.

Portuguese offers

“I can say now I had many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, in Australia, in the US, even in Portugal. Many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club to develop not only the football, but other parts of this amazing country. For me it’s a good challenge. I know what I want and I know of course what I don’t want as well. So it’s a good chance for me to help with my knowledge and my experience, to grow many important points.

“Many people don’t know that Al Nassr has a women’s team as well. And I want to give a different vision of the country, of the football, the perspective of everybody. This is why I took this opportunity.

The transfer has inevitably drawn some skeptical coverage, with many referencing the extraordinary financial terms involved. Ronaldo will reportedly earn over €3m per week for the next two-and-a-half years, making him the best paid player in the sport by a considerable distance.

“Many people speak and give their opinions, but don’t know anything about football,” Ronaldo said. “Over the last 10-15 years the teams [in Saudi Arabia] are different. They are more prepared, they are ready. At the World Cup, the only team who won against the champions was Saudi Arabia. Don’t forget that. There were many surprised. Football has evolved differently. It’s not the end of my career to come to Saudi Arabia. I’m ready to enjoy still playing football and enjoy the people.

“I’m a unique player. I beat all the records there [in Europe] so I want to beat a few records here as all. This contract is unique, because I’m a unique player. So for me it’s normal.”

By Sean Gillen

@SeanGillen9

Comments (41)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I was first confused at the move to Asia, but after giving it some days to think about it, it’s become more clear to me.

What Ronaldo said is true. He’s won everything in Europe. Won Champions Leagues, Cups, Leagues itself and so on. Now, he...

I was first confused at the move to Asia, but after giving it some days to think about it, it’s become more clear to me.

What Ronaldo said is true. He’s won everything in Europe. Won Champions Leagues, Cups, Leagues itself and so on. Now, he can try to make it in Asia and spread his brand and legacy even more. I couldn’t be anymore happier for him.

Honestly, the guy can’t win. If Ronaldo want to Bayern, Man City, back to Real Madrid, etc and didn’t perform, the media would be on him. He goes to Asia to get away, the media is on him even more. I really feel bad for the guy.

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John
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Perhaps, but IMHO this is spin on the part of CR7 and his camp. Deep down, CR7 must be concerned about Messi having an outside chance at eclipsing his all time CL goal record. Sure he has 16 goals to go, but if Messi extends for a couple years...

Perhaps, but IMHO this is spin on the part of CR7 and his camp. Deep down, CR7 must be concerned about Messi having an outside chance at eclipsing his all time CL goal record. Sure he has 16 goals to go, but if Messi extends for a couple years with PSG you never know.

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Nelson
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Honestly Nelson, I don't think that's the case anymore. Having watched his presser, this is a different Ronaldo than what we are used to seeing. He knows what he's accomplished, if he wanted another crack at it, he would've stayed. I think the...

Honestly Nelson, I don't think that's the case anymore. Having watched his presser, this is a different Ronaldo than what we are used to seeing. He knows what he's accomplished, if he wanted another crack at it, he would've stayed. I think the whole Messi v Ronaldo concern can be finally put to rest. Both of the players respected each other, it was the fans that made the debates endless.

His firm statement on being done in Europe, and having other clubs want him (just came out today that FC Porto made an offer for him!) just shows he's commited to this new project. I am excited for him.

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John
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I'm sorry, where does it say anywhere that Porto made an offer for him?

While I would personally pull the trigger on such a deal, I never heard this news, and I'm in Portugal, probably because it's not news and no one has said this aside from...

I'm sorry, where does it say anywhere that Porto made an offer for him?

While I would personally pull the trigger on such a deal, I never heard this news, and I'm in Portugal, probably because it's not news and no one has said this aside from you. Cheers.

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Chris
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Pedro Sepulveda (SIC) and others had shared a story on Instagram regarding the news. I even think there are a few articles out there discussing it

John
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Messi could yet catch him in international goals. It's difficult, but possible. Wouldn't put it past Argentina to organise a friendly against someone rubbish so he can bang in a truck full, though it might depend on how much Messi actually cares...

Messi could yet catch him in international goals. It's difficult, but possible. Wouldn't put it past Argentina to organise a friendly against someone rubbish so he can bang in a truck full, though it might depend on how much Messi actually cares about this record. I highly doubt Cristiano would have turned down a good club in Europe if one was available in any case. Clubs in Saudi Arabia were paying more than the ones in the MLS or Australia.

I wish him luck in his mission to develop the women's game in Saudi Arabia.

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Santos
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Honestly I'm not surprised he went with Al Nassr. If he stayed in Europe it would of been more of the same that he was getting at Man U. MLS could of worked, but living here in the states there is honestly an anti Ronaldo agenda on most of the...

Honestly I'm not surprised he went with Al Nassr. If he stayed in Europe it would of been more of the same that he was getting at Man U. MLS could of worked, but living here in the states there is honestly an anti Ronaldo agenda on most of the sports media here. Also there is very little player power in the MLS. Something that would of come up at some point if he chose to come.

I have no problem with him cashing in, setting up his family for generations, and experiencing something new in his career.

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Brian/US/RI
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Yeah, after a year of relentless tabloid sensationalism, spinning narratives, deliberate attempts to taunt & mock the man, I can see him avoiding MLS, when US media basically repeats British rubbish as if it were "insight". Americans still conned...

Yeah, after a year of relentless tabloid sensationalism, spinning narratives, deliberate attempts to taunt & mock the man, I can see him avoiding MLS, when US media basically repeats British rubbish as if it were "insight". Americans still conned by the British accent.

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F.C.JCHarvard
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All I needed to see was the World Cup commentary and pundits from the US to understand they are anti-Ronaldo, anti-Portugal and pretty much anti-Europe (for Futbol purposes.)

I have never seen such a pathetic love fest from ESPN or these other...

All I needed to see was the World Cup commentary and pundits from the US to understand they are anti-Ronaldo, anti-Portugal and pretty much anti-Europe (for Futbol purposes.)

I have never seen such a pathetic love fest from ESPN or these other clowns when it came to Argentina and to a certain extent, Brazil.

All those guys were dying for either one to be crowned like a bunch of rabid dogs...it was crazy to see.

Any time Portugal played, on the other hand, it was just negativity and garbage...even more so when speaking about Ronaldo.

I am glad he didn't step foot in the U.S. Maybe the fans deserve him, but not a soul else.

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Martim/Lisboa
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Many people in many countries like to see Portugal lose and it is because of Ronaldo. He polarizes. He gives a shit about it and that would be ok if he‘d play tennis or golf. But he pulls the whole drama and negativity into the squad. This iis...

Many people in many countries like to see Portugal lose and it is because of Ronaldo. He polarizes. He gives a shit about it and that would be ok if he‘d play tennis or golf. But he pulls the whole drama and negativity into the squad. This iis not goid.

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Rolf Gerber
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Sure okay there are some people that like to see Portugal lose because Ronaldo plays for Portugal. But you and many other fans are being small minded and forgetful thinking this way. Portugal was alwayss looked down upon, looked at as a pariah,...

Sure okay there are some people that like to see Portugal lose because Ronaldo plays for Portugal. But you and many other fans are being small minded and forgetful thinking this way. Portugal was alwayss looked down upon, looked at as a pariah, an outsider team, a never winning team, a team nobody ever rated or took seriously. People always thought of Portugal as a losing team and wanting them to lose. Very few people and fans, no matter what the era, way before Ronaldo even came along, were Portugal fans and were rooting for Portugal to win. Ronaldo did not cause this. It existed before him.

At least with Ronaldo people have come to respect Portugal as a team that can rightfully hurt them, and rated them as a team that deserves to be feared, and that can upset any team on a given day. A team that can win. Sure may not still be unanimously loved. But Portugal never was unanimously loved. Better to at least be respected. And we can thank in great part many contributions Ronaldo made to Portugal winning titles, specifically the Euro 2016 the first major trophy the country ever won and still the best title the country has won. Ronaldo should be appreciated and thanked.

He's done his part I look forward to seeing who of the current crop will step up and become the next world beater, world class consistent game winner to carry the flag. All great champion teams need a player like that or a couple.

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Eddie
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„ Portugal was alwayss looked down upon, looked at as a pariah“. Not true. This is just the inferiority-complex that some portuguese people maintain. That is completely unnecessary. In worst case it clouds objectivity and holds progress back.

Rolf Gerber
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Portugal has been looked down upon and downplayed I stand by that belief. But we can agree to disagree. I do agree with you that there is an inferiority complex that some Portuguese people maintain yes. And yes that is also completely...

Portugal has been looked down upon and downplayed I stand by that belief. But we can agree to disagree. I do agree with you that there is an inferiority complex that some Portuguese people maintain yes. And yes that is also completely unnecessary.

And this is another reason why Ronaldo should be appreciated and thanked! He showed millions of Portuguese players from normal citizens to fans to even these very young players lots of people on here hype up as the golden generation, he showed them all that they can be proud to be Portuguese that they can be powerful that they can be confident, that they can be winners, that they can hold their head high and face anybody. Ronaldo's inspiration of his life and success has been an example to all Portuguese even the majority of players in this squad now will acknowledge that. Portugal always used to produce talents, but after the success of Ronaldo it brought greater attention to looking for the next Portuguese talents who could eventually become the best in the world. Benfica and Porto stepped up their youth development to join Sporting in having a production line of top talent year in year out. The path was paved, and many top European clubs now scout and look to sign Portuguese. Yes there were successes in the past but the rate of talents produced and sought and bought by Top four European clubs has greatly increased.

We can thank Ronaldo's example and inspiration and success for that. The good he has produced and done for Portugal far outweighs the little so called negatives. So again I say Ronaldo should be thanked and appreciated.

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Eddie
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It’s so sickening as an American to see the hate Portugal and Ronaldo get here on a day to day basis.

Martim, I remember the whole ‘Joga Bonito’ movement back in 2004 and it was widely considered to be either Spanish or Brazilian - never...

It’s so sickening as an American to see the hate Portugal and Ronaldo get here on a day to day basis.

Martim, I remember the whole ‘Joga Bonito’ movement back in 2004 and it was widely considered to be either Spanish or Brazilian - never Portuguese.

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John
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It's actually sad to see - he is going to score 900 career goals and he still has to deal with Haters galore in the US....greatest CL player, too.

I never understood it.

But then when I see them literally roll out the Red Carpet for Messi, I...

It's actually sad to see - he is going to score 900 career goals and he still has to deal with Haters galore in the US....greatest CL player, too.

I never understood it.

But then when I see them literally roll out the Red Carpet for Messi, I realized I never will understand.

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Martim/Lisboa
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I mean, look at how Ronaldo presents himself. I mean, Ibrahimovic might be even worse. But the difference is, from Ronaldo there is 0,0% self-irony. Not in a 1/100 second. This guy means every self-praise he does completely serious, always, and...

I mean, look at how Ronaldo presents himself. I mean, Ibrahimovic might be even worse. But the difference is, from Ronaldo there is 0,0% self-irony. Not in a 1/100 second. This guy means every self-praise he does completely serious, always, and with no no no exception. This is what makes him so unlikeable for as many people as his arrogance makes him a god for as many.

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Rolf Gerber
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I own a couple Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys and i'm proud to be half Madeirense but chances are I wouldn't be friends with this guy in real life if the opportunity presented itself hypothetically. His ego has become overblown, he's spoiled beyond...

I own a couple Cristiano Ronaldo jerseys and i'm proud to be half Madeirense but chances are I wouldn't be friends with this guy in real life if the opportunity presented itself hypothetically. His ego has become overblown, he's spoiled beyond reach, and only hangs around people who will enable and kiss his ass 24/7. I only hope for him that there'd be at least one person in his inner circle who wouldn't be afraid to smack him across the head a few times for his own good and knock some sense into him. I understand he didn't entirely do this to himself. If we consider his circumstances growing up without the guidance of a father combined with an influx of wealth while he has still very young and being placed on a pedestal (Scolari making him Captain ahead of the likes of R.Carvalho, Simão, Nuno Gomes, etc when he's never been Captain material) created a egotistical monster that continued to be fed throughout his club career. It's not just Ronaldo though. I'm sure with the way youth is being raised on social media these days with the promotion of egocentric behavior we'll be seeing much more of this in professional athletes in the future. But Ronaldo is totally ending his career in disappointment. I stood up for him but that Piers interview really does look stupid now. He can say whatever he wants but despite already possessing upwards of $500 million, money still keeps him in a headlock.

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SupremoGino
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I think it's been shown that anyone who dares to criticize Ronaldo ends up on the outside very quickly. No one around him would ever smack him across the head and risk losing their meal ticket. Mendes was probably the only person that could say...

I think it's been shown that anyone who dares to criticize Ronaldo ends up on the outside very quickly. No one around him would ever smack him across the head and risk losing their meal ticket. Mendes was probably the only person that could say something to him and it looks like he's no longer in the picture.

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BennyFromBrooklyn
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He got canned, indeed.

But sorry to say, Mendes was also responsible for funneling Ronaldo to garbage sporting projects...more for the Coin ($.)

Juventus, ManU were not good moves, IMO.

Should have joined a contender and won trophies, even...

He got canned, indeed.

But sorry to say, Mendes was also responsible for funneling Ronaldo to garbage sporting projects...more for the Coin ($.)

Juventus, ManU were not good moves, IMO.

Should have joined a contender and won trophies, even if it was as a guy who only started 40 or 45 out of 60.

But oh well.

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Martim/Lisboa
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This. Anyone who doubts what you've written here should seek out the "Christmas Episode" of the All or Nothing Juventus series on PRIME. It was very unsettling to see several Juventus employees including a senior marketing executive stress over...

This. Anyone who doubts what you've written here should seek out the "Christmas Episode" of the All or Nothing Juventus series on PRIME. It was very unsettling to see several Juventus employees including a senior marketing executive stress over the recording of CR7's seconds long segment for the annual Juv Christmas message to fans... all of these professionals planning every little detail to make sure that CR7 doesn't have to spend more than 7 minutes (IIRC) on the whole ordeal... the fear in their eyes speaks volumes to me. All signs point to CR7 being someone who doesn't suffer "fools" gladly. An by fool I mean anyone who would dare to cross him.

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Nelson
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I haven't seen that documentary but it does ring true. The way he slagged of Fernando Santos for being subbed in the Korea match spoke volumes to me about the guy. No one has backed him more than Fernando Santos, who in my opinion considered him...

I haven't seen that documentary but it does ring true. The way he slagged of Fernando Santos for being subbed in the Korea match spoke volumes to me about the guy. No one has backed him more than Fernando Santos, who in my opinion considered him indispensable and an automatic starter way longer than was justified (not saying he shouldn't have been called up or not played, but some flexibility would have been sensible considering the several games we played without him and looked better in the NL. Even the idea of him being subbed off towards the end of a match was new at the WC!). In my opinion he failed to show anything like the kind of respect him and his fanboys demand he receives himself, even if his behaviour justifies some criticism, which it clearly does.

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Santos
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Ronaldo is no leader, he‘s just a tyrant. It would be good for him to learn something from the leading-concept of „Psychological Safety“.

Rolf Gerber
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His best "performance" as a captain was 2016 in my opinion. I don't think he was ever really captain material given a captain has to think of the team first and put personal glory aside sometimes. In 2016 he was a bit better at this, like the...

His best "performance" as a captain was 2016 in my opinion. I don't think he was ever really captain material given a captain has to think of the team first and put personal glory aside sometimes. In 2016 he was a bit better at this, like the Poland game where he stepped up and took the first penalty, putting aside his own desire to take the winning penalty like he usually does. It was a shame that come the confederations cup game against Chile, he reverted back to wanting to take the winner and then ended up not taking one at all (like the semis against Spain in 2012)!

My feeling is that while we won in 2016, we somehow managed to learn nothing about winning and what is required to go the distance. Since the 2019 Nations League victory we just seem to have played for him to break his various records which are nice, but hardly the kind of success most fans want to see. I feel we have ended up sacrificing a larger team identity because of this and that has been frustrating to watch.

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Santos
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Couldn’t agree more. We‘re pretty much on the same page in every aspect regarding the Seleção

Rolf Gerber
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Nuno Gomes was the captain at Euro 2008

Samuel
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You're right. I'm a big fan of Scolari but I remember now this was only a temporary decision to honor the late FPF president. Queiroz deserves the blame for choosing to make it permanent.

SupremoGino
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Totally agree. Spot on

Rolf Gerber
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Saudi league or not, still a better option than G. Ramos vs teams who will sit deep, defend and counter.
Mark my words, dude will end up like guedes, in more than just appearance.

Fusion
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Guedes scored the winner in a final for Portugal.. so not bad really.

Santos
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I'm sure that the FPF might still push to include Ronaldo, that could be why Mourinho turned them down.

Gee Dee
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If the FPF does that, I‘m done with this team.

Rolf Gerber
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He wanted the Asia move but fires Mendes when he didn't deliver a champions league team for him. It makes no sense. The Saudi move was clearly a last resort, and if it was, do you think he would come out and say that? "Hey all, I don't want to be...

He wanted the Asia move but fires Mendes when he didn't deliver a champions league team for him. It makes no sense. The Saudi move was clearly a last resort, and if it was, do you think he would come out and say that? "Hey all, I don't want to be here and i am here only because no champions league team came in for me and the money was just too stupid to turn down." Stop drinking the Koolaid.

He is a Saudi sport washing pawn now. He isn't an intelligent guy and is being used by them just like Piers used him as a puppet to get him to say certain things. Setting his family up!? Give me a break. He already has generation wealth for unlimited generations or until we blow this world up, which ever comes first. He is doing it because he has this deep need to be loved and the Saudis will do that. They will blindly worship him, where as the US and British media won't use kid gloves on him. Ronaldo spins stories just as much as the media. Just look at things in his past. How much do we discuss his tax evasion or rape allegations? He has been able to bury some pretty serious things because of his privileged position, so don't act like it's a one way street. He has to deal with a lot of unfair media and celebrity attention, but that same celebrity and power has gotten him out of a lot of things.

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Mac
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I think one thing that is overlooked here is that Ronaldo simply loves playing the game. He doesn't want to sit on the bench regardless of how much he's getting paid. Not many players would have walked away from all that money United was paying...

I think one thing that is overlooked here is that Ronaldo simply loves playing the game. He doesn't want to sit on the bench regardless of how much he's getting paid. Not many players would have walked away from all that money United was paying him. I think he saw a situation where, yes, he was going to get a ton of cash but also be in place where the fans are traditionally extremely supportive and there would be no doubt as to his place in the starting 11. Yeah, in a perfect world he probably would rather be back at Real or some place similar. But I don't think he wanted to go to another European team where he risked getting dropped for one or two bad performances with the media hounding him over ever missed scoring opportunity. Maybe he's finally accepted where he's at in his career.
Anyway, we should all wish him the best.

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BennyFromBrooklyn
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All fair points, but then I think about the comments he made about his being a "special player" with a "special contract" and I feel like its perhaps less about playing and more about NOT being the guy on the bench (in other words, he is only...

All fair points, but then I think about the comments he made about his being a "special player" with a "special contract" and I feel like its perhaps less about playing and more about NOT being the guy on the bench (in other words, he is only truly happy if he is the center of attention... we agree, its just that I think his motivation is coming from a different place. Regardless, I'm really sad to see him go... it would have been much better for him to land somewhere in one of the top 5 or 6 leagues.

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Nelson
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@Mac
I was actually thinking that. I don't know if he can even enter the US let alone play here.
The tax evasion thing is messed up too, but it seems that a lot of them do it. That's no excuse of course.
I don't like how the media treats team...

@Mac
I was actually thinking that. I don't know if he can even enter the US let alone play here.
The tax evasion thing is messed up too, but it seems that a lot of them do it. That's no excuse of course.
I don't like how the media treats team Argentina "Messi" but then wants to hold Ronaldo to another standard. Yes, he shouldn't have gone on Piers Morgan. That definitely made it difficult to win over the masses. Yet the media had it in for him already.
In his defense, the slapping of the cellphone was blown way out of proportion. Bad parenting seems to be the norm these days. Children are raised with no respect.
Lol, the most egregious was the throwing of his captain band repeatedly.
Eighteen years of being in the spotlight, and surely there are going to be bad moments.

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Dan DaSilva
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The media coverage of Portugal in the US was not negative. It was negative towards Ronaldo because of all the drama he cause domestically this year. Also, he was quite poor in the WC and didn't deserve any positivity from any objective media...

The media coverage of Portugal in the US was not negative. It was negative towards Ronaldo because of all the drama he cause domestically this year. Also, he was quite poor in the WC and didn't deserve any positivity from any objective media members. Messi was scrutinized heavily after that first loss and it was all about how he fails on the biggest stage and has never scored in the knockout rounds similar to Ronaldo. Messi turned it around. If Ronaldo was playing at the level of Messi and didn't cause so much drama beforehand then the attention would have been the same towards him. His own coach, who clearly has a deep affection for him, thought it best to sit him because of the BS he pulled and his low standards. The persecution complex of some of you is quite remarkable.

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Mac
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When i lived in CT I sat next to Dan Gaspar (Portugal NT coaching staff 2002-03, Benfica, Porto, Portugal NT 09-10) at a local Portuguese joint when a game was on. I was mouthing off about how Quaresma needed to be back in the team with a buddy...

When i lived in CT I sat next to Dan Gaspar (Portugal NT coaching staff 2002-03, Benfica, Porto, Portugal NT 09-10) at a local Portuguese joint when a game was on. I was mouthing off about how Quaresma needed to be back in the team with a buddy of mine and Gaspar interjected stating that Quaresma didnt have the right mentality and was a disruptive presence on the team (this was during the time when Quaresma was at Porto and garnering interest from big clubs again). The reason i bring this up is I think the biggest impact Ronaldo has made on the Portuguese NT is an elite professional athletes mentality (Training, Diet, Rest, Sports Psychology, etc) that didn't exist "enough" in the past. Its evident in the younger generations that have made it into this team that his example has been a influence on our top talents. No doubts that his brand has brought attention, marketing, dollars (euros) to the NT that has helped raise the level of the team and brought both positive / negative press. But Portugal has been producing young generational talent for decades and i think from that perspective has outperformed. Its failure and success at the senior level seems to be how many players make that jump to the senior/top tier professional level. The difference today is Ronaldo demonstrated a formula for success and gave young portuguese kids a role model. That DNA is evident in our young talent today which why i believe were able to field a deeper and stronger field of elite players that have made the transition to top tier status that we hadnt been able to do since the golden generation.

Finally, i dont think Ronaldo owes anyone of his fans anything regarding the choice hes made. But as someone that first started paying attention to the NT during the 2004 Euro's as the son of Portuguese immigrants im saddened by how he chose to manage this phase of his legacy. Hopefully the history books will treat this as a small blip in a otherwise monumental career. He is a big reason why i have so much pride in my heritage.

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A.Correia
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