Cristiano Ronaldo is not registered to play for new club Al Nassr and will not be until an existing overseas player is sold or released from their contract by mutual consent.
The Saudi Pro League caps the number of foreign players permitted at each club at eight, previously seven prior to the start of the 2022/23 season.
Unfortunately for Ronaldo, who is already serving a suspension carried over from his time at Manchester United after knocking a phone out of an Everton fan’s hand last season, he is currently the ninth overseas players in the Al Nassr squad.
It means that in order to be registered to play, the club must free up some space.
“Al Nassr has not registered him yet because there is no vacancy for a foreign player. A foreign player must leave to register Ronaldo, either by selling or by terminating the contract by mutual consent,” an anonymous club source told AFP on Thursday.
A second club source also said: “There are ongoing negotiations to sell one of the players, but they have not reached their final stages yet.”
Cameroonian striker Vincent Aboubakar and Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina are the next most high profile players in the current Al Nassr squad. The club also has ex-Bayern Munich midfielder Luiz Gustavo and former River Plate talent Pity Martinez occupying places in the quota.
Brazilian forward Anderson Talisca joined in 2021 and has scored 31 goals in 43 games, while Spanish defender Alvaro was a new addition in 2022. Uzbekistan international Jaloliddin Masharipov is reported to be the player most likely to leave to push Al Nassr back inside the quota.
Ronaldo made a significant faux pas during his presentation as an Al Nassr player this week, getting Saudi Arabia confused with South Africa.
“It’s not the end of my career to come to South Africa,” the 37-year-old said at a press conference, not taking a second thought and seemingly completely unaware of his mistake.