Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo scores his side's second goal during the group B match between Portugal and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Cristiano Ronaldo Signs With Saudi Club Al Nassr

“In my mind, I want to finish at the top level. I want to finish with dignity, a good club,” said Cristiano Ronaldo in 2015.

Now the fading star takes a big payday at a lower-league club just to remain on the precipice of relevancy.

Ronaldo has signed with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

Ronaldo’s contract will pay $75 million a year, the largest figure in soccer history. The deal runs through the 2025 season.

“I am excited to experience a new football league in a different country,” said Ronaldo via a statement with his new club.

“The vision of what Al Nassr are doing and developing in Saudi Arabia both in terms of men’s and women’s football is very inspiring. We can see from Saudi Arabia’s recent performance at the World Cup that this is a country with big football ambitions and a lot of potential.”

Ronaldo controversially left Manchester United last month after a contentious season with the English club. United manager Erik ten Hag chose to bring the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner off the bench, much to the striker’s anger. This dispute led to Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan, where he disparaged both ten Hag and Manchester United. Following the interview, Ronaldo and Manchester United mutually terminated the forward’s contract just prior to the World Cup.

The World Cup was ultimately a mixed bag for Ronaldo. He became the first player to score in five World Cups but was also used as a substitute for Portugal’s match against Morocco. Unless he wins the 2026 World Cup at 41, Ronaldo will have finished his career without soccer’s ultimate prize.

Ronaldo now looks to rebuild his legacy with Al Nassr.

About Connor O'Bryan

Connor O'Bryan is a world soccer reporter for ESPN Gainesville. He also sometimes covers baseball and other sports. He has previously written for WUFT Gainesville and for Atrium Magazine. Connor also cohosts the "Off The Bar Podcast", a student driven podcast that focuses on the global soccer landscape.

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