Al-Hilal president ‘negotiated with Ronaldo’ this summer; reveals why deal fell through

Al-Hilal president Fahad ben Nafel has revealed that he tried to bring Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia in the summer transfer window.

Ronaldo told the Premier League club that he wanted to leave in the summer after they failed to qualify for the Champions League.

He was linked with a lot of clubs but the only side who reportedly made an approach was an unnamed Saudi Arabian outfit.

The 37-year-old was really eager to play in the Champions League in order to avoid Lionel Messi overtaking him as the top scorer in the competition’s history.

He ultimately stayed at Old Trafford and has endured a difficult start to the season.

After reporting late for pre-season, Ronaldo has been playing catch up with new manager Erik ten Hag integrating his style of play on the squad.

His only start in the Premier League was the 4-0 defeat at Brentford, while his only goal of the season has come from the penalty spot in the Europa League.

It is fair to say that Ronaldo is going through the worst spell of his career.

It hasn’t been made clear which Saudi club had made an attempt to sign Ronaldo in the summer, but it looks like it was Al-Hilal.

Their president has confirmed talks with Ronaldo, but says he could not bring him to Saudi Arabia due to a transfer ban.

“Yes, we negotiated with Ronaldo,” he said on the Thamanya YouTube channel. “The problem was not in the money or the principle.

“Al-Hilal is able to bring in the stars of the world, but it was in the decision of the Sports Arbitration Center that prevented us from registering the players.

“We did not stop negotiating with the players despite the decision to ban, but we were delaying entering the final stage of the negotiations until the ban was lifted.”

Ronaldo re-joined United in a spectacular move last summer.

He was surprisingly linked with a move to their rivals Manchester City, however, before the Red Devils swooped in to sign him from Juventus.

Speaking this week, transfer guru Fabrizio Romano gave some details on Ronaldo’s potential switch to the Etihad last year.

He wrote in his CaughtOffside column: “As you’ll remember last summer, there were talks over a surprise move for Cristiano Ronaldo to join Manchester City.

“Still, it was never 100% approved by the board or by the technical staff at City. There were also some issues at Ronaldo’s end with his agent Jorge Mendes, so the deal collapsed, even though Juventus were happy to accept the move.

“In the end, United appeared on the scene and Ronaldo was happy to join them as soon as their interest became apparent.”

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