Cristiano Ronaldo turns 38 – Retirement plan as Al-Nassr make U-turn

Ronaldo receives rapturous welcome from Al Nassr fans

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Cristiano Ronaldo is celebrating his 38th birthday today following a tumultuous 12 months on and off the pitch. The veteran is one of the greatest footballers in the history of the game and has won a whole host of trophies throughout his illustrious career.

Ronaldo first entered the limelight after joining Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United as an 18-year-old in 2003. He won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Club World Cup during his first stint at Old Trafford, while also getting his hands on the first of his five Ballon d’Ors.

After moving to Real Madrid, the forward tasted even more success at the highest level and racked up the goals to help the club win title after title over a nine-year period. And following a three-year stint with Juventus, the ace signed for United for a second time in the summer of 2021.

Ronaldo scored 24 goals during his maiden campaign back at Old Trafford. But things turned sour this season and he had his Red Devils contract terminated last November after telling Piers Morgan he “felt betrayed” by the club. The player signed for Al-Nassr at the end of last year but has struggled to find his form in Saudi Arabia. So what does the future have in store for the Portugal international?

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Retirement plans

Ronaldo has scored just one goal in three appearances for Al-Nassr and appears to be struggling to hit the heights of previous years. But ahead of his move to the Middle East, the striker told Morgan that he wanted to play football until he was 40 years old.

“I want to play two years more, three years more,” Ronaldo said. “I want to finish [aged] 40. I think 40 will be a good age. But I don’t know, I don’t know the future. Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and, as I told many times, the life is dynamic. And you never know what’s going to happen.”

Al-Nassr U-turn

Ronaldo previously revealed that his time in Europe was over and he had no plans to return to the continent as a player. But just weeks later, Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia suggested the blockbuster star had unfinished business on his home continent and would play there once again before calling time on his career. “He is one of the best players in the world,” the Frenchman said. “He will not finish his career at Al-Nassr – he will return to Europe.”

Ramos backs Messi

Ronaldo has gone toe-to-toe with long-term rival Lionel Messi throughout his career in the quest to be considered the greatest player of all time. But the Portuguese ace may feel he is getting left behind, with Messi winning the World Cup with Argentina last year. And Ronaldo could well be seething after his ex-Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos sided with the Argentinian in the debate.

“There was suffering for several years playing against Messi,” Ramos told PSG TV. “I am now enjoying him [as a team-mate at PSG]. He is the best player football has ever produced.”

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