Ronaldo takes next step of career in Saudi Arabia

The Ronaldo-effect, it seems, is already taking hold, and the realms of what is possible feel broadened by his very presence — never mind that he is past his peak and has so far this season been dropped by both Manchester United and Portugal because of his lack of form.

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January 6, 2023 - 2:54 PM

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo takes part in a training session at Al Shahania SC, northwest of Doha on Nov. 23, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Portugal and Ghana. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The palm trees lining the desert roads leading out of Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport were wet with rain drops when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived this week in Saudi Arabia’s capital city.

The surprising weather greeted the soccer great’s shocking move to the Middle East, where the gray skies in Riyadh were more akin to the often overcast conditions of Manchester — his previous home.

It’s a surreal start for Ronaldo as he takes the next step of his storied career in a league few know much about.

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