Pitch Perfect: A Portuguese Legend

Adnan Zai
4 min readFeb 17, 2023

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“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

What do Shakespeare and the world of football have in common? When it comes to greatness, they are both talking about one man: Cristiano Ronaldo, who has just received the world’s largest annual sports contract ever given. Ronaldo is greatness personified, and has achieved through his football career what other men can only dream of, recently accomplished a feat that no man ever has before. Because of the extreme skill and masterful play on the pitch, Ronaldo has punched his own ticket in his career. At the beginning of 2023, Al-Nassr acquired Ronaldo as a free agent and is reportedly paying him $217MM per year on a 2.5-year contract. This is an outlandish accomplishment in the sports world and certainly is a testament to his skill and longevity as a player.

A Football Legend

How did this rise to greatness occur? Ronaldo left Manchester United late last year, after his contract was terminated by mutual consent. He did not remain a free agent for long, and when he signed with Al-Nassr, he commanded the greatest salary ever given for a footballer. His salary will be $75MM from Al-Nassr, and the additional monies will come from commercial deals and image rights.

Al-Nassr confirmed the transfer with the following statement: “This is more than history in the making. This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves. Welcome, Cristiano, to your new home.”

Ronaldo is rumored to be a key player in Saudi Arabia’s move to host the 2030 World Cup. Although his contract with Al-Nassr is expected to be played out by then, he will likely help them to gain the host rights for the World Cup, when they are expected to create an inter-confederation bid with Egypt and Greece. Ironically, the prime opponent for that is Portugal, bidding with Spain and Ukraine.

Ronaldo added, “Al-Nassr’s vision is very inspiring and impressive. I look forward to a different league experience in a different country. I am excited to join my…

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Adnan Zai

As an Advisor-In-Residence, Adnan particularly focuses on strategy, deal pipeline, and structuring.