Cristiano Ronaldo has said he feels a ‘better man’ for putting his troubled second spell at Manchester United behind him, describing the ugly saga as a ‘bad’ phase of his career.

Ronaldo made a sensational return to Old Trafford in 2021 and, even though it was a poor season for the club, scored 24 times in all competitions.

But the start of new chapter at United under Erik ten Hag, it soon became clear that the veteran forward wasn’t going to be a focal point. It frustrated him and tensions eventually boiled over, resulting in an inflammatory interview in TalkTV that did irreparable damage to his relationship with Ten Hag and the club – his contract was terminated by mutual consent in November.


Ronaldo, now 38, has since joined Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, a move widely criticised when it appeared he was originally angling to join a club in the UEFA Champions League. But he appears to be happy with his decision all the same and is still part of the current Portugal squad.

“Sometimes, you have to go through some things to see who is on your side. I have no problem saying, I had a bad career run, but there’s no time for regrets. Life goes on and, doing well or not, it was part of my growth,” Ronaldo said while on international duty.

“When we are at the top of the mountain, we often cannot see what is below. Now, I’m more prepared and learning that was important, because I had never been through this, like in the last few months. Now I’m a better man.”

Ronaldo was initially ineligible to play for Al-Nassr when he first signed for the club due to caps on foreign players in the Saudi Pro League. He later made his debut against Ettifaq on 22 January, wearing the captain’s armband. but drew a blank in the 1-0 win.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s first Al-Nassr goal came in his next appearance, scoring a stoppage time equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Al-Fateh.

From there, Ronaldo has racked up impressive numbers, finding the net nines times in 10 games across all competitions. But his goals have come in bursts, rather than evenly spread across the various outings. There has been a four-goal haul and another hat-trick and Ronaldo has actually failed to score in six of his 10 Al-Nassr appearances so far.

On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders and Rob Blanchette discuss why Harry Kane would be a better signing for Man Utd than Napoli marksman Victor Osimhen. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!


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