Former Manchester United striker Odion Ighalo has accused Cristiano Ronaldo of moving to Saudi Arabia for financial gain.
After leaving United last year, Ronaldo signed a contract with Al-Nassr in January. Ighalo claims that Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr for financial reasons and not out of genuine love for the sport. They didn’t play alongside one another at United; Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford in August 2021.
The Nigerian International speaking to OmaSportsTV said, “When you are young, yes, you play for passion. Back then, you didn’t care about money. But at my age, I am in the final stretch of my career; I don’t know if it will be 1, 2, or when God will tell it to stop.
“Is Ronaldo still playing out of passion? Ronaldo has earned 100 times more than I have in my entire life, and yet he went to Saudi Arabia. Did he do that out of passion? It’s for money, bro.”
Ronaldo makes £175 million a year at Al-Nassr, and a number of other well-known players, including Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, and Jordan Henderson, have since moved to Saudi Arabia.
Between January 2020 and January 2021, Odion Ighalo was on loan at United, during which time he scored five goals in 23 games.
Ighalo later played for Saudi Arabian teams Al-Shabab and Al-Hilal, where he won the league championship, before becoming a free agent.
The player, who claimed to have played for passion all his life but is now focused on securing the bag given the limited time he has left to play the game, told OmaSportsTV. “I know it won’t be more than 3 years. I’ve played for passion all my life; now it’s for money. I’m not one of those players who comes and says, ‘I play for passion’. Brother, it’s money. At the end of the day, it’s money.”
Ronaldo has scored 14 goals in 19 games since joining Al-Nassr, and he will be motivated to help his team win the championship this year after they placed second to Al-Ittihad the previous year.
Al-Hilal made an attempt to entice Kylian Mbappe to Saudi Arabia and had Paris Saint-Germain accept a record-breaking £259 million offer.
Mbappe refuses to talk with Al-Hilal’s delegation despite a £600 million wage deal being offered.
Lionel Messi also declined Al-Hilal, but he ultimately chose to sign with MLS team Inter Miami.
The Saudi Pro League, according to Ronaldo, is superior to Major League Soccer.
The Balon d’Or winner claims that he opened the door to the Saudi League. He says, “The Saudi League is better than MLS. Now all the players are coming here. In one year, more top players will come to Saudi Arabia. I opened the way to the Saudi League, and now all the players are coming here.”
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