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Cristiano Ronaldo offered ‘ridiculous’ deal as he plots his next move

Ronaldo has stated it feels like “the right time for a new challenge” after his contract with Manchester United was terminated.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session at the Al Shahaniya Sports Club, Al Shahaniya, ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Picture date: Saturday November 19, 2022.© PA

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Cristiano Ronaldo and his advisers are weighing up his next move after Manchester United terminated his contract on Wednesday, with one deal set to be pushed back onto the table after it was rejected last summer.

Ronaldo has stated it feels like “the right time for a new challenge” after his contract with Manchester United was terminated.

The 37-year-old’s position at Old Trafford looked untenable after his explosive interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised manager Erik ten Hag and club officials.

After exploring their options the Premier League club issued a statement on Tuesday evening announcing the player’s departure with immediate effect.

United’s statement said the decision was mutually agreed with the player, whose reported £500,000-a-week contract still had six months to run, but it is understood there has been no pay-off and there are no ongoing obligations for the club.

Now it has emerged that Saudi Arabian authorities will make a fresh move to sign Ronaldo in the coming weeks, after he turned down an eye-watering €242million two-year deal last summer.

Ronaldo opted to stay at Manchester United as he walked away from a deal that would have made him the best paid footballer in the world.

“It’s true, yes it’s true,” he told Piers Morgan in his explosive interview when asked about the terms of the Saudi deal.

“What the press keeping saying, the garbage that nobody wants me, which is completely wrong.

"I was motivated to do a great season here. But they (the media) continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How do they not want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with a national team?”

Now Saudi chiefs are expected to make a fresh offer to Ronaldo, who could be deployed as a player in the Saudi league and a poster boy for the nation’s bid to stage the 2030 World Cup finals. If Saudi Arabia are successful in a joint bid that also bizarrely includes Greece and Egypt, another winter World Cup would be staged in eight years time.

Ronaldo’s future will be resolved in the coming weeks, with Chelsea still believed to be contenders to sign the 37-year-old on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

The Stamford Bridge club are the 5/2 favourites to sign Ronaldo on a free transfer, after Paris Saint-Germain and Sporting Lisbon were ruled out of contention.

A move to Chelsea would allow Ronaldo to have a final crack at winning the Champions League for a sixth time, with the Saudi offer likely to still be on the table next summer.

If Ronaldo signs for Chelsea, he will face a two-game Premier League ban after he was banned for two matches and handed a £50,000 fine by the Football Association for hitting a mobile phone out of a fan’s hand at Everton.

The 37-year-old, who is now a free agent following his release from Manchester United on Tuesday, had the altercation with the 14-year-old boy after a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park on April 9, and was cautioned by Merseyside Police.

The FA also charged the Portugal forward with improper conduct and an independent panel has handed down a suspension and hefty fine.

The ban will be transferred when Ronaldo joins a new club in any country, but does not count in the World Cup.

A statement from the FA read: “Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for two matches, fined £50,000 and warned as to his future conduct for a breach of FA rule E3.

“The forward admitted that his conduct after the final whistle of the Premier League game between Manchester United FC and Everton FC on Saturday 9 April 2022 was improper.

“An independent regulatory commission found that his conduct was both improper and violent during a subsequent hearing, and imposed these sanctions.”

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