The long history between Ronaldo and the Champions League may not be over.
As the Portuguese star arrived Monday evening in Riyadh, on the eve of his presentation to supporters of the Saudi club Al-Nassr, Marca reveals that a clause in his contract could allow him to return to Europe next summer.
The condition ?
That Newcastle, owned by the public investment fund of Saudi Arabia, qualifies for the next Champions League.
A very plausible hypothesis since the club from the North of England is currently third in the Premier League.
Read alsoHere is what awaits Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia
Very attached to his status as the top scorer in the history of the Champions League, Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes did everything to find a base where the five-time Ballon d'Or, 37, could still defend his odds.
No one wanted him, hence the idea of betting on Saudi Arabia and its English club.
Ronaldo has scored 140 goals in the Champions League and remains under threat from Lionel Messi (129), younger and above all, still in contention in the most prestigious of club competitions with, in addition, an ultra-competitive team.
If he plays in the next edition, Ronaldo can hope to score half a dozen goals in the group stage alone and keep his historic rival at bay.
Ronaldo has won five Champions Leagues (2008 with Manchester United, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018 with Real), national titles in Italy (2019, 2020) with Juventus, in Spain (2012, 2017) with Real Madrid and in England (2007, 2008, 2009) with Manchester United.
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner arrived at Riyadh airport in the evening.
It will be presented Tuesday at the Mrsool Park stadium in Riyadh, with a capacity of 25,000 seats, from 5 p.m.
He signed with Al Nassr for an estimated salary of 200 million euros over two and a half years.
An important security device had been put in place with police vehicles and checkpoints, reported an AFP journalist, who could not access the interior of the airport.
According to a source within the club, "he brought with him a considerable number of assistants and even a private security company".
He will initially stay in a luxury hotel in central Riyadh, the source added.
The 37-year-old striker left Manchester with a bang, following a vitriolic interview at the end of November in which he claimed to "no longer respect" his coach Erik ten Hag and also attacked the club's leaders.
The recruitment of a world star, with a contract until 2025, is the latest episode in the efforts of opulent Saudi Arabia to position itself in high-level sport, after having hosted F1, boxing or the golf, and bought the English club of Newcastle.