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Who are Al Nassr? Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential next club

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Cristiano Ronaldo is a free agent after he and Manchester United mutually agreed to terminate his contract and Al Nassr have emerged as the first team keen to snap him up.

Ronaldo and Man Utd agreed to part ways after the 37-year-old was highly critical of the club and manager Erik ten Hag, who has benched him this season, in an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

90min understands Al Nassr have now offered him a contract that would see him become the highest-paid footballer ever.

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The offer is believed to be a three-year deal worth close to £250m a year once add-ons, incentives and bonuses are factored in.

He’s yet to accept it and would prefer to continue playing at the highest level of European football, but could join if it’s the only offer on the table.

So, who are Al Nassr, Ronaldo’s potential next club?

As was very much evident at Man Utd, with him and Ten Hag clashing, a club’s manager is extremely important to whether Ronaldo succeeds there or not.

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Al Nassr’s manager is Rudi Garcia, with the Frenchman taking charge in June of this year, replacing Pedro Emanuel.

Garcia didn’t have a hugely successful playing career but has since made a name for himself as a manager, taking charge of Lille, Roma, Marseille and Lyon.

His greatest achievement came at Lille when he won Ligue 1 in 2011. After that, he enjoyed some relatively successful periods but ended up without a job following a disappointing 2020/21 campaign with Lyon.

A year later, he was hired by Al Nassr and has made a strong start to life in Saudi Arabia, winning six of his first eight matches.

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Ronaldo would become the biggest name at the club by a long way, but they do already have some high profile players in their squad.

Cameroon striker Vincent Aboubakar joined in the summer of 2021 and has done well since, getting 10 goals in 30 matches, while David Ospina and Luiz Gustavo were signed this year.

The club’s best performer though has been Brazilian forward Talisca, formerly of Benfica. Last season, he got 20 goals in 28 league matches and has five in six this campaign.

As shown by the fact that they have the money to make Ronaldo the highest-paid player ever, Al Nassr are one of the richest clubs in the world.

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Saudi prince Abdul Rahman bin Saud Al Saud took charge of the club in 1960 and oversaw their journey from an amateur side to one of the nation’s biggest, funding their rise to the top.

He passed away in 2004 but they have continued to receive the financial backing of Saudi royalty since, meaning money is no object to them.

Al Nassr are one of Saudi Arabia’s most successful clubs, winning the nation’s top division on nine occasions; only Al-Hilal have lifted it more often.

They’ve enjoyed success in cup competitions too, winning the King’s Cup six times, the Crown Prince’s Cup three times, the domestic Super Cup twice, the Asian Super Cup once and the Asian Cup Winners’ Cup once.

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However, the biggest prize, the Asian Champions League, has proved illusive, reaching the final once in 1995 but failing to ever lift the trophy.

They haven’t won the league title for two seasons, finishing second and sixth since triumphing in 2019, but did win the King’s Cup and Saudi Super Cup in 2020.



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EPL

Cody Gakpo reflects on first month at Liverpool

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Liverpool forward Cody Gakpo has opened up on his first month on the books at Anfield, admitting he is still getting used to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics.

The Dutchman was wanted by a number of elite sides, with Manchester United expected to win the race for his signature, but it was Liverpool who snuck in and agreed to pay an initial £35m to bring Gakpo to England.

The 23-year-old, who made his name as a left winger but has spent time as a striker at Liverpool, is yet to score after four appearances for his new side, but he told club media that is it just a matter of getting to grips with his new surroundings

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“My feeling, personally, is everyone in the team has so much quality,” he said. “That is what I see in training and in phases in the games.

“It is also a part of football, that sometimes things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to. We just have to keep improving, working hard, and the quality will come out. Then, you’re going to see the real Liverpool.”

He continued: “From a football perspective, it’s a new environment on the pitch, with new players and a new team. I can tell it’s a really great group. Every day I am looking forward to working with them, to train hard and to play the games. I am trying to adapt as quickly as possible, to improve every day and in the end show the best version of myself.

“Off the pitch, to be honest, I haven’t been in the city so many times yet. Most of the time I have been in the hotel. I am moving this week, actually. That’s also something I’m looking forward to.”

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Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Gakpo also confessed that he is still trying to adapt to his new role in Liverpool’s team.

“It is a little bit different to what I’m used to,” the Dutchman admitted. “Normally, I have played on the left for almost the past three years.

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“It’s something I can improve, playing in the striker role, and I want to show my quality there. It’s a great position and playing there makes me more complete as a technical player.





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Fulham launch bid Fluminense midfielder Andre

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Fulham have made a bid to sign Fluminense midfielder Andre, 90min understands.

The 21-year-old has quickly established himself as one of Fluminense’s top players and a number of sides across Europe have expressed an interest in luring him away from his homeland in 2023.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that Fulham have approached Fluminense to try and thrash out a deal, but the Brazilian side are reluctant to part ways with their star player during the 2023 campaign.

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Andre, who has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Liverpool, has spoken out about the interest and insisted his focus remains solely on his current employers.

“Obviously, I’m focused and very happy,” Andre said recently. “I just renewed my contract until 2026.

“It’s normal to get offers, but I’m focused here on Fluminense and having an excellent season.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

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If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

Andre’s agent, Carlos Leite, also took to Instagram to confirm that the 21-year-old had agreed to remain with Fluminense until the end of the current campaign, which runs over the entire calendar year.

“Thanks to the great work carried out, Andre entered the radars of some of the biggest European clubs and, with that, he has received several enquiries and some official proposals,” Leite wrote.

“However, the player and Fluminense, through president Mario Bittencourt, sealed an agreement for the midfielder to remain at the club at this time, with all the dedication and commitment, always seeking the best for Fluminense in all competitions.”

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Sporting CP manager makes Pedro Porro admission as Tottenham talks continue

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Sporting CP manager Ruben Amorim has warned Tottenham that he will not take right-back Pedro Porro out of his starting lineup until a transfer has been 100% agreed.

90min understands Tottenham are confident they will get a deal over the line for the 23-year-old eventually, but Sporting’s reluctance to budge from their asking price of Porro’s €45m release clause has led to some lengthy negotiations which are not yet over.

And while Porro is still contracted to Sporting, Amorim will not hesitate to use the right-back and risk an injury which could see the entire move collapse.

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“Porro does not leave before the game,” Amorim said ahead of Saturday’s Allianz Cup final against Porto. “Clubs have to come first, and as far as I know, a player who is able to play and is signed up by a club, he has to go to games.

“I realise that [negotiations] involve a lot of players’ minds, but the indication I have is that Porro is fit, and the most important thing for me, as a manager, is that if he wasn’t there, there would be someone else. The game cannot be played with just one player. Porro is fit. Whatever has to happen will happen, we are prepared for all scenarios.”

Listen now as Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey and Toby Cudworth to discuss the latest transfer news. On today’s agenda: Dusan Vlahovic, Anthony Gordon, Enzo Fernandes, Amadou Onana, Malo Gusto, Nicolo Zaniolo, Pedro Porro, Weston McKennie, Milan Skriniar, Maiximo Perrone & more!

If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!

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Amorim continued: “Is this Porro’s last game at the club? I don’t know. There are a few days left until February 1, then everyone will know if Porro stays or leaves.

“Porro hasn’t left yet. We are scouting, but not everything is easy, you’re in a real hurry to send Porro away!”

Spurs have repeatedly tried to lower Sporting’s asking price for Porro by including at least one player in the deal, but the Portuguese side have been clear about their determination to hold out for the right-back’s release clause – in full.





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