After making a joke about Lionel Messi, Al-Nassr manager Rudi Garcia risked alienating Cristiano Ronaldo just days after the forward joined the team.
Following the termination of his contract with Manchester United at the start of the World Cup, it was revealed last week that Ronaldo had found himself a new team.
The 37-year-old has settled in Saudi Arabia, where he will reportedly earn £173 million annually, making him the highest-paid athlete in the world.
The fact that Ronaldo never intended to relocate to the Middle East was confirmed by his own historic comments on the subject, some of which were made just a few months ago.
Ronaldo won’t be able to flee longtime rival Messi, despite travelling so far from Europe, as he probably would have liked to do after the Argentine won the World Cup.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will play in a friendly against a team that may or may not include Cristiano Ronaldo with his Paris Saint-Germain teammates.
What did Rudi Garcia say?
Garcia revealed in a recent press conference that the pair may have actually been even closer.
When asked in jest whether Ronaldo could be signed, the former Roma manager laughed and said “First I tried to take Messi.”
Will it create a rift between Cristiano Ronaldo and the manager?
Although the coach was in a lighthearted mood and smiled after his response, it’s likely that the new Al-Nassr star won’t think much of it.
When his time at United came to an end, he felt that Erik ten Hag had “disrespected” him because he did not think the former Real Madrid star was untouchable.
Garcia worked at Lyon during the 2020–21 season, but he left the French team after failing to qualify for the Champions League.
He relocated to Al-Nassr in June and is now suddenly forced to deal with Ronaldo’s massive presence, who the supporters are undoubtedly already anticipating seeing wear their team’s jersey.
In stark contrast to what happened at United, the manager’s joke about Messi is not likely to result in his dismissal, but a disagreement with his new star is not likely to turn out well either.
Read More: Cristiano Ronaldo Club Records and Stats
Why will Messi and Ronaldo see each other more often?
With both players serving as ambassadors for Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup, Ronaldo will nevertheless be required to collaborate with Messi under the terms of his new contract.
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