Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed that he turned down a crazy offer to leave Manchester United for a Saudi Arabian club in the summer.
The Portuguese international told Piers Morgan he rejected a stunning €350million (around £306m) deal which would have made him the highest paid footballer in the world.
Ronaldo has made the headlines over the past week for his explosive interview with TalkTV, with the 37-year-being heavily critical of his current employers Man United.
Over the summer, there were many rumours suggesting that a club from Saudi Arabia had made a whopping €350million offer to him to play for two seasons.
On the rumours, Ronaldo told Morgan: “It’s true, yes it’s true…but what the press keeping saying, the garbage that nobody wants me, which is completely wrong.
“And I was happy here to be honest, I was motivated to do a great season here. But they [the media] continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How do they not want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with a national team?”
Despite rejecting such a huge pay package, Ronaldo insisted that he still believes he can perform at the highest level in the Premier League.
He added: “It’s hard, it’s hard. But in the same way, I thought that I was very happy here; that I’m still capable of scoring goals…
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“I still believe that I can score many, many goals and help the team because I still believe that I’m still good and capable to help national team – even Manchester United.
“But if you don’t feel around you that the energy’s on your side, it’s difficult. Of course, the criticism is going to exist all the time, ‘Ah he’s 37, he’s not the same’. But I want to see if some guy of my age can maintain the level that I have shown…
“Yes, in this moment, I feel very, very good…. I believe that I’m going to do an amazing World Cup and I’m prepared, physically and mentally…
“But Piers, it is what it is. Life’s good, I’m good, my mental [outlook] is good. I’m happy to do this interview with you. I know we’re going to generate many polemic.”
And although Ronaldo’s competitive streak still burns brightly, the player admits that he views football differently these days.
“But Piers, let’s be honest, the last year’s football changed. I see football now as a business to be honest,” Ronaldo added.
“Sometimes Georgina’s [Rodriguez] expression, that ‘I don’t understand that they treat you players like a piece of meat.’ I say, ‘Yes, everything you say is true’… I see football, Piers, the last years, as a business. I saw many, many things that I’m disappointed by.
“The passion for the game is still intact. But in the same way, I saw other things as well. Which surprised me but in the same way. It’s part of the business because if you see the world, how it is at the moment, it’s all business…”
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