Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr Faces FIFA Ban
In a major setback for the Saudi Pro League, FIFA has banned Cristiano Ronaldo’s team, Al Nassr, from registering new players. Al Nassr, who finished as runners-up in the top flight last season, made headlines when they signed Ronaldo to a staggering £173 million-per-year contract in December 2022.
Several high-profile players have recently made moves to the Middle East, including Karim Benzema, Ruben Neves, N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Edouard Mendy. Additionally, Steven Gerrard has become the new manager of Al Ettifaq.
While Al Nassr did secure the signing of Marcelo Brozovic from Champions League finalists Inter Milan, their transfer activities may come to a halt for the foreseeable future. FIFA has imposed a ban on registering new players for three transfer windows due to Al Nassr’s failure to pay add-ons owed to Leicester City as part of a £14 million deal for Nigerian striker Ahmed Musa.
Al Nassr reportedly owes Leicester City £390,000, which they have yet to pay. As a result, they have faced disciplinary action. Musa, who scored five goals for Leicester, found success at Al Nassr, netting 14 goals in 62 appearances and helping the team win the league in the 2018/19 season.
This FIFA ruling, initially introduced in 2021 and supported by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), stated that Al Nassr must fulfil their contractual obligations to Leicester City or face a transfer ban. Since they have not complied, they have now been subjected to the ban. However, Al Nassr has announced its intention to promptly settle the outstanding fee, which is expected to result in the lifting of the suspension.
With the recent investment from the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund, Al Nassr hopes that its new structure and improved financial situation will prevent such issues from recurring. Notably, in November, Al Nassr had to pay $2.5 million to Brazilian midfielder Petros to settle a dispute related to his terminated contract.