Cristiano Ronaldo may be at risk of being punished by FIFA if he makes his Al-Nassr debut in Thursday’s match against Al Ta’ee, with the 37-year-old still banned for two games for smashing an Everton supporter’s phone while playing for Manchester United last season. Ronaldo was officially unveiled by Al-Nassr earlier this week after signing a lucrative two-year deal with the Saudi outfit, who are expected to pay him a record-breaking salary of around £3.6million per week.
Club chiefs are desperate for Ronaldo to make his debut on Thursday against Al Ta’ee, with their fans excited to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in action for the very first time since completing his recent money-spinning move to Al-Nassr. However, it seems as though both player and club may risk facing the wrath of FIFA if he is selected to feature in the match by manager Rudi Garcia.
Ronaldo was hit with a £50,000 fine and a two-game suspension by the FA last year after slapping the phone from the hand of a 14-year-old boy during United’s match against Everton, with the ban understood to remain in place despite his exit from Old Trafford in November. Al-Nassr are yet to confirm whether or not Ronaldo will make his debut for the club on Thursday, though, opening up the possibility that his ban could be defied by the Saudi heavyweights.
Al-Nassr executives are said to be hoping that Ronaldo’s international clearance certificate may help them to circumnavigate his ban – which is being backed by FIFA – although there is an ’85 per cent chance’ that he will not be risked against Al Ta’ee, according to the Daily Mail. It is claimed that Ronaldo could land himself in hot water with FIFA if he plays on Thursday, while Al-Nassr may be hit with a hefty fine if they decide to go against the FA’s previous ruling by naming him in the squad for the fixture.
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Ronaldo’s new club would likely have no trouble paying any fine they are given as a result of their riches, but the situation could have further ramifications for the player himself if FIFA opts to clamp down hard in the event his ban is ignored. The governing body will reportedly be able to prevent Ronaldo from registering with another club at the end of his two-year contract with Al-Nassr, although he suggested earlier this week that he will look to retire in Saudi Arabia by insisting that his business in Europe is done.
“So far I’m feeling very good,” he told reporters at his official unveiling ceremony. “I’m so proud to make this decision in my life, and as you mentioned before in Europe my work is done. I won everything, I played at the most important clubs and for me now it is a new challenge in Asia.
“I’m grateful that Al-Nassr have given me this opportunity to show and develop, not only for the younger generation, but for the women’s generation. It’s a challenge but I’m very proud.”
Ronaldo also claimed that he turned down approaches from several clubs in Europe in order to take the next step of his career with Al-Nassr, adding: “”I had many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, Australia, in the US and even Portugal tried to sign me, but I gave my word to this club not only to develop the club, but the country.
“I know what I want, but I also know what I don’t want. I’m a unique player. I beat all the records there [Europe], so I want to beat a few here. This contract is unique, because I’m unique, so this is normal.”
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