A fantastic career in Europe came to an end on Friday as Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to a massive $75 million per season deal with Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr across two and a half years. After seeing Lionel Messi win the World Cup with Argentina and capture the Golden Ball, there is no question Ronaldo is feeling rather grim about where he’s ended up. Years and years of scoring goals in the Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A, the 37-year-old now heads to Asia to play for a team that might be a powerhouse in their country, but are frankly unknown in the grand scheme of things.

But the question is, has Ronaldo tarnished his legacy by moving to Al Nassr? The short answer is no, but the reality is Cristiano should’ve never gone to Manchester United in the first place. It was the beginning of the end. The Portuguese legend rolled into Old Trafford in the summer of 2021, scored 24 goals in his first season, and single-handedly kept the side within the top six, all under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for most of the campaign until his sacking. However, once Erik ten Hag was hired, Ronaldo should’ve left instantly. I know a lot of big-name clubs weren’t too keen on him, but once all the drama happened with the player and the gaffer, absolutely no one wanted to know about Cristiano Ronaldo because he was seen as a distraction. The fact that ten Hag even had the gull to bench a player like Ronaldo is ludicrous in the first place.

Sure, there was some excitement about him coming back to where it all started, but the reality was ten Hag had a certain way he wanted to do things and it didn’t include Cristiano. He didn’t help his case by failing to make much of an impact when given minutes, either. The Red Devils are much in part to blame for the striker packing his bags and heading to Saudi Arabia. There is no reason to feel bad for Ronaldo. After all, he’s earning a ridiculous amount of money overseas.

Also, Cristiano is a big reason things turned out this way, too. He could’ve handled the situation better at United. Although it was clear he didn’t see eye to eye with the boss, Ronaldo would’ve been better off if he bit his tongue and avoided any public conflict. That instantly turned off any Champions League clubs over a possible January move.

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Regardless of his fantastic years in Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo will still go down as a legend of the game. This is a man who has scored more than 700 goals in his career and conquered three of the continent’s top leagues, winning numerous titles in each, never mind five Champions League titles, too. While Ronaldo did get benched at the recent World Cup by now-former manager Fernando Santos in the knockout stages, he is the reason Portugal is a force on the international and European stage. People seem to forget that. For club and country, he was as reliable as any.

Unfortunately, it will not be a storybook ending for Cristiano Ronaldo. He won’t win another UCL trophy, score 25 goals in a season at the highest level, or be the focal point of a European giant. However, Ronaldo is still the GOAT to many and one of the best players to ever grace a football pitch. There is no doubt about that.

Now, he gets to enjoy the game again, make a boatload of money, and experience a new league while hopefully scoring loads of goals like in past years. It’s just a shame his career will end on a sour note where most fans won’t even get to watch Ronaldo anymore. Nevertheless, the name Cristiano Ronaldo will ring around football circles for years and years to come.