Gary Neville reveals his ‘sadness’ as Cristiano Ronaldo joins Al Nassr following Man Utd exit

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Gary Neville has given his reaction to the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr after leaving Manchester United last month.

The 37-year-old was unveiled by Al Nassr on Friday night, with Ronaldo set to earn a fee of £177m per year, according to Fabrizio Romano. In a statement, the Saudi club said: “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.”

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Meanwhile, Ronaldo said he is ‘thrilled for a new experience’. The Portugal attacker’s contract was terminated after that bombshell interview with Piers Morgan in which he criticised his United team-mates, owners, manager and former players.

Speaking after the news was announced Neville, who shared a dressing room with Ronaldo for six years, claimed he feels sadness that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s time as an elite talent is drawing to a close.

“We’re going to see a lot less of him,” the former defender said on Sky Sports. “It tells us a few things; one, how serious Saudi Arabia are about football. They’re going for the World Cup and have invested £350m in one player, and are trying to strengthen the league.

“But for Cristiano Ronaldo, I felt he would want to stay for this season at least in one of the big leagues in Europe and go and score more goals and potentially find a Champions League club. It tells me that obviously the offer is staggering and maybe the club didn’t come in for him in Europe and he felt that this was the option to go for.

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“There’s an element of sadness for me that we’re probably seeing the last of Cristiano Ronaldo playing at the top level, which is something that I think we could have continued to see at Old Trafford had it been handled differently by both parties throughout the season,” he added. “But that came to an end. It was an inevitability and it’s been coming for the last couple of weeks. It seems like Cristiano is going to see his career out in Saudi.”

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