Barcelona legend Rivaldo wants to see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Real Madrid and believes the striker was ‘tricked’ into a big-money move to Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr in January.
Al-Nassr have seen their lead at the top of the Saudi Arabian top division slip away in recent weeks after Ronaldo completed a stunning move to the club in January. They currently languish three points off league leaders Al-Ittihad, who lost their game on hand at the top on Thursday.
The arrival of the Portuguese superstar – in a world record deal worth £173million per year – hiked up the expectations in Riyadh. Ronaldo has netted 12 league goals in 15 games for his new club, but it has coincided with a decline in results as Al-Nassr lost top spot and were eliminated from the Saudi Arabian Cup.
Ronaldo has scored just once in his most recent four appearances for the Saudi Arabian club and has failed to find the net in six of his last nine outings. That has coincided with reports that not only does he want to leave the club but that he is adamant on re-joining former club Real Madrid.
"I understand that sometimes the players are tricked by the big contract they sign in Saudi Arabia," Rivaldo is quoted as saying by Diario AS. “But then life there is further away and your football may not always be as easy as expected.
“So, he may be going through a phase of some disappointment and even reflection. So maybe the money he is receiving makes up for the not so happy life he is living at the moment.”
The former Brazil international then added that Lionel Messi, who has been linked with a move to Al-Nassr’s city rivals Al-Hilal, will feel a similar fate as Ronaldo: “This happens to all players and Messi himself will soon see this.”
Rivaldo then continued, of the future of Ronaldo: “It would be good for him and for football to see Cristiano Ronaldo return to Real Madrid to finish his career. Of course, the fans have to understand that they cannot demand the same from him as he did when he was 25 or 26 years old, but he can still help the club in more achievements.”
Ronaldo’s preference is return to Real Madrid – where he bagged a scarcely believable 450 goals in 438 first-team appearances – but this was thought to have been rejected by club president Florentino Perez, who does not see the forward as benefiting the club’s sporting project.
However, it has been claimed that Perez has offered Ronaldo an ambassadorial role at the club when he hangs up his boots – something that the player has not yet decided to do.