Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly ‘split with his long-serving agent, Jorge Mendes after a disagreement over his controversial interview with Piers Morgan interview’ which led to his Manchester United exit.
The 37-year-old Portugal forward was officially unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Tuesday January 3, following his arrival in Saudi Arabia, after he agreed to a £175million-a-year contract.
According to Portuguese news outlet Publico, Mendes objected to Ronaldo giving the interview and knew afterwards that any hopes of finding the star another top club in Europe had vanished.
The two-decade-long relationship between Ronaldo and Mendes had been deteriorating for some time and his personal manager, Ricky Regufe negotiated his transfer to Al Nassr.
Publico say that Ronaldo expected offers to roll in from elite European clubs if he performed at the World Cup in Qatar, regardless of the acrimonious nature of his Old Trafford exit.
Mendes thought differently, knowing only Al Nassr could match Ronaldo’s salary demands.
On Ronaldo being dropped by Portugal coach, Fernando Santos for the knockout rounds at the World Cup, Publico say Ronaldo’s behaviour was a ‘constant source of irritation’ for the Portugal team during the tournament, with his team-mates and the federation ‘hushing up almost everything.’
At this point, Refuge stepped in to arrange his move to the Middle East.
Friction quickly emerged between Refuge and Mendes’ company Gestifute. Now Polaris Sport, owned by Gestifute, are no longer responsible for Ronaldo’s image rights.
At his presentation on Tuesday, Ronaldo claimed he was offered ‘many opportunities in Europe and many clubs in Brazil, Australia, USA and even in Portugal’ – but he’d already given his word to Al Nassr.
Ronaldo was introduced as ‘the world’s greatest footballer’ in front of 25,000 raucous supporters at Mrsool Park in Riyadh, to a backdrop of fireworks, flares and strobe lighting.
Ronaldo has been criticised for quitting the European game and taking the Saudi money.
But he said: ‘This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal. I really don’t worry about what people say. I am really, really happy to be here. I am so proud to make a big decision in my life. My work in Europe is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs.
‘For me now, it is a new challenge in Asia. I’m grateful that Al Nassr have given me this opportunity to develop not only the football, but also for the young generation, the women’s generation. I want to change the mentality of the new generation.’
He told supporters: ‘It is a pleasure to be here. I will give my best for this club. My goal is to make people happy, to enjoy myself and to help the country be better and better.’
He added: ‘I have beaten a few records there (Europe) and I want to beat a few records here. I am coming here to win, to play and to enjoy and be part of the success of the country and the culture of the country.
‘I know the league is very competitive. I have seen many games. I am ready to enjoy this, to smile and to still play football.’