Five-time Ballon D’Or Winner Cristiano Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr FC on a free transfer for what is reportedly the highest salary for a footballer.
Ronaldo was released by his former club Manchester United after an explosive interview to Piers Morgan and will be unveiled at Mrsool Park on January 3, 2023.
Which team is Ronaldo in now?
The 37-year-old signed a three-year contract with Al-Nassr, keeping him at the club till he is 40, making it seem that his career in Europe may just have been over.
However, there were several reports on January 2 that said that the Portuguese supposedly has a clause in his contract that allows him to join Newcastle United on loan, should the Magpies qualify for the UEFA Champions League.
Sportstar does a fact-check on the claim to find if at all the new is true.
Claim: There is a clause in Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr contract that allows him to play for Newcastle United if it qualifies for the Champions League
Newcastle United has undergone a major transformation under new owners, and manager Eddie Howe, with the team sitting third in the Premier League table with 34 points in 17 matches so far.
Its last and only Premier League loss came in September, thanks to a late winner from Liverpool and it is the only team other than Arsenal to have lost just one game in the league so far.
If the club finishes within the top four this season, it will return to the Champions League after 20 years. Ronaldo, the other stakeholder in this narrative, however, may have bid adieu to UCL after signing for Saudi Arabia.
The former Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United star is already the highest goal scorer in the Champions League with 140 goals and has won the title five times.
As a result, if such a clause becomes active, Ronaldo may just return to UCL, though on loan, giving him a chance to revive his UCL statistics and goalscoring tally before he retires.
The narrative suits well, given Ronaldo’s illustrious history with the tournament, and the fact that Newcastle United is owned by the Saudi Consortium fans the flame of the rumour.
Though player contracts are some of the most confidential documents between concerned parties, Spanish outlet Marca looked to have pulled off a scoop when it reported that there is, indeed, such a clause present in his contract.
While the new went viral within hours, the claims turned out to be inaccurate, with no such confirmation from either Newcastle United or Al-Nassr FC. Marca finally had to issue a statement on twitter to clarify the confusion.
“Our information was Cristiano would sign and Cristiano signed by Al Nassr. No info about Newcastle in Cristiano’s contract,” it wrote on Twitter.
While Cristiano Ronaldo returning to the UEFA Champions League may sound like a dream return, its possibility for now is none.
Even if there is a clause in the contract, neither of the stakeholders - Newcastle United, Al Nassr-FC or Cristiano Ronaldo - have given sufficient clue to suggest the move.
As a result, the fact remains that Ronaldo is not going to join Newcastle United on loan, given the information that is public so far.
What did Newcastle United manager say about the rumour?
Speaking just before third-placed Newcastle’s Premier League match at leader Arsenal, Howe moved to quash talk of a future move for the former Real Madrid and Juventus star.
“We wish Cristiano all the best in his venture but from our point of view there’s no truth in that,” Howe told Sky Sports.
Can Ronaldo play in Champions League?
Yes. The consolation for Ronaldo fans would be the fact that the forward may play in the Champions League, but that would be under the Asian Football Confederation, i.e. the AFC Champions League.
The AFC Champions League may see Al-Nassr FC complete for the title and here, the serial goalscorer will definitely play. His chances to play in the UCL, the Champions League in Europe, is none for now.