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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Dan Marsh

Four Man Utd stars Cristiano Ronaldo asked to fly out to see him and what it tells us

Cristiano Ronaldo started a new chapter in the Middle East this month after agreeing to end his turbulent second spell at Manchester United early.

The 37-year-old had been angling for a move weeks before he lost his first-team spot under Erik ten Hag and was always likely to be moved on in the New Year after trashing the Dutchman and the club hierarchy in an explosive, unsanctioned interview with Piers Morgan late last year.

Ronaldo has since signed a lucrative contract believed to be worth around £173million-a-year to join Saudi Pro League outfit Al-Nassr - but the early weeks of his career in the Middle East haven't quite gone to plan.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's official debut was initially delayed due to a two-match suspension he was handed last year before blanking on his eagerly anticipated maiden appearance. Ronaldo then followed that up with another blank in Al-Nassr's defeat against Al-Ittihad last week and appeared to pick up an ankle injury in the same match.

Despite his indifferent start to life at Al-Nassr, Ronaldo is already making plans for some of his former teammates to visit him. According to The Sun, Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro and Raphael Varane have all been asked to fly out to the Middle East to touch base with United's former talisman.

Intriguingly, other than Maguire, the rest of the players Ronaldo has asked to visit him already knew him prior to Manchester United - indicating that the strongest bonds he had at Old Trafford were with individuals he already knew from the Real Madrid and Portugal set-up.

Join the debate! What do you think of Ronaldo's decision to join Al-Nassr? Let us know here.

Bruno Fernandes is one of the players who Ronaldo has invited to the Middle East (Getty Images)

While Ronaldo has flattered to deceive so far at his new club, he has, at least, been backed to impress once he adapts to life in the Saudi Pro League by Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia.

He revealed this weekend that Ronaldo is unlikely to finish his career at the club as he is expected to return to Europe at the end of his contract - despite Ronaldo himself insisting that his work in Europe was "done".

Speaking after his move to Al-Nassr was confirmed, Ronaldo said: "I'm a unique player. It's good to come here, I broke all the records there [in Europe] and I want to break a few records here. I'm coming here to win, to play, to enjoy, to be part of the success of the country and culture of the country.

"In Europe, my work is done. I had many offers in Europe, many in Brazil, Australia, the US, even in Portugal. Many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club, for the opportunity to have not only football but [to be] part of this amazing country. And for me, it was a challenge."

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