Cristiano Ronaldo could yet to be offered an escape route from Manchester United with Yasser Al-Misehal, president of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, admitting he’d love to see the veteran playing in his country. The Portugal international has endured a difficult start to the new season, starting just two matches. And he’s yet to score, either, with the 37-year-old behind Marcus Rashford in Erik ten Hag’s pecking order.
Ronaldo requested to leave Manchester United back in the summer, with the 37-year-old eager to play for a team who could offer him Champions League football.
However, despite links to the likes of Napoli, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea, no offer for the superstar arrived from Europe.
Ronaldo was, however, approached about playing in Saudi Arabia – but turned down an ‘obscene’ proposal to move to the Middle East.
Now, according to The Athletic, both Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr were interested in the 37-year-old back in the summer.
And Saudi FA chief Al-Misehal has hinted a new bid from a team in his country could soon be launched, especially with the United star enduring a slow start to the season.
“We would love to see a player like Cristiano Ronaldo playing in the Saudi league,” he said.
“It would bring a huge positive feedback and it would be big news for everyone.
“I’m sure everyone knows the achievements and records of Cristiano Ronaldo, but also as a player who is a great role model.
“I think, ‘Why not?’. I’m sure it would be a very expensive deal, of course, but we can see our clubs getting higher revenues in the past couple of years.
“We have already seen some big players who used to play in the Premier League come to the Saudi league.
“I like Cristiano Ronaldo as a player and I would like to see him play in Saudi Arabia.”
When quizzed on a potential January move, he added: “To be honest, I don’t have the answer.
“If I was the president of a club, I could give you the answer. But my colleagues at the clubs don’t have to share their negotiations with me.
“It wouldn’t be an easy transaction for a Saudi club or even for him, but we would love to see him or even some other top players of the same level.”
It has certainly been a rocky campaign for Ronaldo so far.
Last term, the Portugal international started the majority of matches as the club toiled under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.
Ronaldo was a shining light for United, however, managing an impressive 24 goals across all competitions – more than any other player at the club.
Since then, however, he’s fallen down the pecking order.
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Ronaldo has started just two matches, with United losing to Real Sociedad and Brentford when he’s been unleashed from the beginning.
And the former Real Madrid and Juventus star has been left on the bench as the club have won their last four Premier League titles.
Ronaldo has often bounced back when he’s been up against it but, as he enters the twilight years of his career, is now facing a huge test of his mettle.
His situation at United could yet worsen when Anthony Martial eventually returns from injury, with the France international highly-rated by Ten Hag.
And whether he pushes to leave the club again in January remains to be seen.
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Martial, meanwhile, recently hailed Ronaldo – but insisted Wayne Rooney had been his favourite team-mate at the club so far.
“He’s super humble – and what a hard worker,” he said of Ronaldo.
“We often speak when we are at the gym in the morning before going to training and I would watch what he was doing. That’s only logical, it’s Cristiano Ronaldo!'”
He then added: ‘We have spoken about being genuine and so I can speak about Wayne Rooney.
“He’s the best player I have played with. He’s always playing for the team, always at 100 per cent, no fuss. A monster. And a model as a footballer.”