Explained: Why Ronaldo didn’t leave Man Utd for Al-Hilal as Portuguese superstar pushed for summer transfer
- Wanted summer move from Old Trafford
- Interest shown from the Middle East
- Recruitment ban scuppered plans
WHAT HAPPENED? The five-time Ballon d’Or winner made it clear to the Premier League heavyweights over the summer that he wanted out of Old Trafford. Various landing spots were mooted for the 37-year-old, from Spain to Saudi Arabia, but no deal was done and he is now struggling to earn a regular starting role for the Red Devils under Erik ten Hag. Al-Hilal were prepared to offer Ronaldo a way out of England before the last deadline passed, but a transfer ban imposed in May after Mohamed Kanno backtracked on a move to Al-Nassr – which left him with contracts signed at two different clubs - prevented them from reaching an agreement.
WHAT THEY SAID: Al-Hilal president Fahad ben Nafel has told the Thamanya YouTube channel: “Yes, we negotiated with Ronaldo. The problem was not in the money or the principle, Al-Hilal is able to bring in the stars of the world, but it was in the decision of the Sports Arbitration Center that prevented us from registering the players. We did not stop negotiating with the players despite the decision to ban, but we were delaying entering the final stage of the negotiations until the ban was lifted.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ronaldo has continued to generate talk of a switch to Saudi Arabia being made since the summer window closed, with leading sides in that region convinced that they can match the sporting and financial ambition of an all-time great.
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WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? For now, the Portugal international – who is counting down the days to another World Cup – is stuck in Manchester and will be hoping to see more Premier League minutes when United take in a derby date with arch-rivals City on Sunday.