Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut in the Saudi Pro League debut for Al Nassr on Sunday and his presence electrified fans at King Saud University Stadium as the team beat Ettifaq 1-0 to retake first place on Sunday. But much before his father’s debut, Ronaldo’s son Cristiano Jr had already hit the ground running in Saudi.
According to a report in The Sun, Cristiano Jnr, 12, has started training with the Mahd Academy, the national sports centre in Saudi Arabia – based in their new hometown of Riyadh.
The star kid was playing in the Manchester United academy when his father was still there. But he also accompanied his father after Ronaldo’s contract was terminated following his explosive interview with Piers Morgan. Ronaldo Jr. is said to be training in the year group two years above his age already.
The Mahd Academy is the centre for elite Saudi sporting talent from the age of six and above, with kids given education across a range of sports.
Cristiano Jr. is indeed one of the most sought-after youngsters in the Under-14s and at 12, he has largely played for the clubs his father has represented, including Real Madrid and Juventus. He was also at the Manchester United academy until recently.
Meanwhile, Al Nassr, which has played 14 games, moved a point ahead of defending champion Al Hilal, which has played a game more. The Al Nassr fans had to wait three weeks after the announcement of one of the most surprising transfers in soccer history to see their new hero in competitive action.
On Thursday, Ronaldo played for a combined XI from Al Nassr and Al Hilal in an exhibition game against a Paris Saint-Germain team featuring old foe Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner who starred for Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, signed a deal to June 2025 with Al Nassr, apparently after rejecting offers from Europe, North America and beyond.
Media reports have claimed the Portugal star could be earning up to $200 million a year from the deal, which would make him the highest-paid soccer player in history.