Credit: Twitter

Credit: Twitter

Odion Ighalo, the former Manchester United striker who is currently playing for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia, has aimed a dig at Cristiano Ronaldo for his decision to join Al-Nassr, another Saudi club. Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, shocked the world when he signed a two-year deal with Al-Nassr in January 2023.

The 38-year-old Portuguese star reportedly earns around $200 million per year, making him the highest-paid player in history. Ighalo admitted that he and other players who moved to Saudi Arabia did so purely for financial reasons, and not for the love of the game. He also mentioned that he was honest about his motivations, unlike some other players.

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“When you are young, yes, you play for passion. Back then, you don’t care about money. But at my age, I am in the final stretch of my career. I don’t know if it will be one or two years or when God will tell it to stop,” he told in a recent interview.

The striker said that he does not like to cover his intentions with lies as he said, “I know it won't be more than 3 years. I've played for passion all my life, now it's for money. I'm not one of those players who come and say: 'I play for passion'. Brother, it's money. At the end of the day, it's money.”

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He further went on, “Is Ronaldo still playing out of passion? Ronaldo has earned 100 times more than I have in my entire life, yet he went to Saudi Arabia. Did he do that out of passion? It’s for money, bro.”

On the other hand, just a few weeks back Ronaldo defended its league and its qualities and also credited himself to opening the door for others to join him in Saudi Arabia. Jordan Henderson became the latest player to join a Saudi club when Al-Ettifaq introduced the Liverpool captain.

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Former teammate Fabinho is likely to finalize his own transfer to Saudi Arabia this week and will join Ruben Neves, Karim Benzema, and Roberto Firmino in relocating to the Middle East. The Saudi government is funding the changes through its Public Investment Fund, which owns the four biggest teams in the division. The huge transfer fees and players moving away from Europe are not expected to stop anytime soon as the Saudis have reportedly set aside $17 billion till 2030 for transfers alone.