What did Cristiano Ronaldo say at his Al Nassr unveiling?
Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has arrived in Saudi Arabia and was unveiled at Al Nassr’s Mrsoon Park on Tuesday.
The big day has finally come. Cristiano Ronaldo has arrived in Saudi Arabia for his first day of work at Al Nassr (can you call it work when you’re set to be paid a reported €500 million over seven years? Technically, yes.).
The Saudi Pro League club were busy on social media in the hours before Ronaldo’s first press conference, obligatorily calling their new signing the ‘GOAT’ on Twitter followed by an 88-second clip of the Portuguese’s arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, where he was presented by a bouquet of flowers and posed for exactly 500 million photos.
After confirming via an Instagram story that he had passed his medical (that would have been amusing…), Ronaldo made his way to Al Nassr’s Mrsool Park, packed to the rafters and resembling a night club more than a soccer stadium. The fans in attendance were made to wait to see their new hero, though, who first spoke to the press for the first time after his arrival in the Gulf state.
What did Cristiano Ronaldo say in his first press conference at Al Nassr?
Ronaldo was keen to stress the excitement of the ‘new challenge’ that he had taken on and that his move was based on more than just playing soccer and scoring goals, making several references to Al Nassr’s women’'s team. He also revealed where he could have gone instead of Al Nassr but why he felt it was the right move for him to make:
“I am very proud of this step I’ve taken. My work in Europe is done. I’ve played for the best clubs in Europe and now I am grateful to Saudi Arabia for giving me this opportunity, this new challenge.
“My family is happy with my decision to come to Saudi Arabia and fully support me. In Saudi Arabia, people are very happy with my arrival and that of my family.
“This is a great opportunity not only in terms of soccer, but also to try to change the mentality of the world. I had the option to go and play in Europe, Brazil and Australia, even in Portugal. But I’ve chosen this challenge because I want to help this great country and try to help develop the nation and the club with my experience. For instance, a lot of people don’t know but Al Nassr has a women’s soccer team.
“It’s good to come here. I’ve broken every record in Europe and I want to break a few more here.
“I’ve come here to win and to be part of the country’s culture. All I want is to smile and to be able to play soccer”.
When will Cristiano Ronaldo make his debut for Al Nassr?
Ronaldo was full of praise of Saudi Arabia’s performances at the Qatar 2022 World Cup when asked and ended his response by revealing that he could even make his debut for his new club on Thursday, 5 January against Al Thai in a Saudi Pro League game. Their next match after that is due to be played on Saturday, 14 January at home to Al Shabab.
“A lot of people talk and give their opinion, but a lot of people don’t know anything about soccer. Every team is well set up prepared and for that reason there are a lot of surprises. The South Korean team, Costa Rica... winning in the World Cup is very difficult. The world of soccer is very advanced, the league is very competitive and I am happy to be here. I’m looking forward to playing, even tomorrow if the coach gives me the chance”.
What did Al Nassr head coach Rudi García say about Cristiano Ronaldo?
Al Nassr head coach Rudi García, who yesterday joked that he actually wanted to sign Ronaldo’s arch-rival Lionel Messi following the Argentinian’s World Cup exploits, also faced the press and wasted little time in talking up his new acquisition (not that he needs it):
“I’m very surprised to see so many people at a press conference, usually there are two or three journalists. After games, can you please all come and talk about Cristiano’s goal?
“Cristiano is one of the best players of all-time. For me, for the country and for the club, it’s fantastic that someone of his stature can come here. I’ve seen great players in my life, but none like Cristiano. Coaching Cristiano is going to be very easy because there is very little to explain to him. I’m looking forward to our time together.
“My goal is for Cristiano to be happy and to win here at Al Nassr”.
What did Cristiano Ronaldo say to his Al Nassr teammates?
Ronaldo wasn’t done there, though. Next up, meet the teammates. Cue a series of awkward handshakes and nobody knowing which language to speak to him. The Portugal captain gave a short speech to his new buddies in the dressing room, most of which will sound familiar:
“I’m very happy to be here and to take on this challenge. I’ve come here to win. I know this group of players is fantastic, I’ve seen some games and I see the connection you have with each other. I’m here to help the team, to enjoy myself and to give my all. I promise you that the presentation won’t take too long and we can go out and train”.
What did Cristiano Ronaldo say to the Al Nassr fans?
Finally, the fans got their moment. A quick costume change and Ronaldo, kitted out in the yellow and blue of Al Nassr, took to the field to rapturous applause, his name being belted out around the ground and, of course, a chorus of ‘siiiiiiuuuuu’. I think we were all hoping he’d left that behind in Europe.
“It is a pleasure to be here. Yesterday I already felt welcome when I arrived in the country. I’m going to give my all for you.
“I hope to make you happy, enjoy myself and help the country to improve not only with soccer in the men’s section, but also the women’s section of Al Nassr as well. I know the league is very competitive, not everyone knows that, but that’s the way it is.”
Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodríguez and three of his children joined the forward for the final part of the presentation in the centre circle, in which the host praised him for his ‘kicks’ - very technical - when launching soccer balls into the crowd. “My family and I want to thank you all for your support and we are going to do our best.”
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