Sporting Kansas City became a finalist for the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo after several Major League Soccer teams were in the running for him, according to reports.
Ronaldo has signed with Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia for two years, in a deal that will pay him $212 million a year.
Before reaching an agreement with the team, Ronaldo’s representatives had several meetings with Sporting KC, whose financial package, including salaries and commercial elements, was considered “very close” according to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.
Cristiano Ronaldo (left) has signed for Al-Nassr after leaving Manchester United for free
Sporting Kanas City had ‘multiple meetings’ with Ronaldo’s representatives before the Saudi move
Kansas City was among the last teams with a chance to sign Ronaldo due to the team reportedly having his MLS ‘discovery rights’, which is a rule in the league that gives clubs a path to acquire a player over rivals.
Some fans commented on the report to express their discontent with MLS’s discovery rule, noting that it was possibly what cost the league the chance to sign one of soccer’s best players to take the field in America.
“No disrespect to Sporting KC, one of the best-run franchises in MLS, but I wonder what things would have been like if it had been a team in New York, Los Angeles or Miami that had their discovery rights.” said one angry fan.
Another would tweet: ‘Can we talk for a second about the discovery rights of a player like Ronaldo being a joke? SKC was the only MLS team at the table because of that lol.
MLS fans have expressed their discontent over the ‘discovery rights’ rule possibly costing them the chance to see Ronaldo join the league.
Catching a player of Ronaldo’s stature would not only have been a tremendous move for a team in a market the size of Kansas City, but it would also have given the team a supersonic boost on the field after the team finished 12th. in MLS Western. Conference with only 40 points.
In terms of the league as a whole, MLS probably would have gotten the same kind of boost that it did when David Beckham arrived, as former USMNT forward Alan Gordon said would happen if the rumors of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami came true.
Nonetheless, Ronaldo will now lace up his boots for one of the most successful clubs in Saudi Arabia’s top flight, following his acrimonious departure from Manchester United.
Ronaldo’s contract at Manchester United was terminated by mutual consent in November
His departure came just days after Ronaldo’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV.
After his release, Ronaldo had an epic fight with the club when he criticized the club, the Glazers, manager Erik ten Hag and his teammates in an explosive interview.
The interview was the final step in which Ronaldo forced himself out of the club after he was dropped and forced into training only for refusing to come on as a substitute and then retired with a win over Tottenham.
His luck did not improve during the World Cup with Portugal, as manager Fernando Santos dropped him from the starting lineup in what was said to be a tactical decision.
There were reports that the 37-year-old wanted to leave the tournament after being benched, although both the player and the Portuguese Football Federation denied those reports.
Ronaldo became the first men’s player to score in five consecutive World Cup tournaments, but struggled in Qatar. He was left out of the squad for Switzerland’s quarterfinal loss to Morocco after appearing in the group stage.
He only scored one goal, a penalty against Ghana, and failed to sway a Portugal team that, like United, looked like a more dangerous team without him.
Ronaldo was benched for the first time in a major tournament knockout match since Euro 2008
Ronaldo remained on the bench in both of Portugal’s qualifying matches at the World Cup in Qatar