Cristiano Ronaldo, the captain of Portugal, has become the latest elite footballer to relocate to Asia as he nears the end of his dazzling career. Ronaldo recently agreed to terms with Saudi Arabia club Al-Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
During his time at Al-Nassr, the 37-year-old will also earn more than £177 million every year. The former Manchester United forward will be introduced as an Al-Nassr player on Tuesday, January 3rd.
According to the DAILY POST, when great footballers in Europe near the conclusion of their careers, it has become increasingly usual for them to relocate to Asia.
Many Asian teams give high-profile players who are nearing the end of their careers big incomes and long-term contracts, thus after experiencing great seasons in Europe, many players switch to either experience new challenges, win more championships, or maximize their earnings potential.
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Top 6 Footballers Who Moved To Asia At End Of Their Careers
In no particular order, here are the top six footballers who played in Asia near the conclusion of their careers.
Ronaldo recently signed with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr team and will be introduced as their player on Tuesday, 3 January.
The 37-year-old signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Middle Eastern club after his contract with Manchester United was ended by mutual consent in November.
The Portugal captain, who has also played for Real Madrid and Juventus, will also earn more than £177 million per year with the Saudi Arabia team.
Cannavaro signed a two-year contract with Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates after a brief return to Juventus in 2010.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner played only one season for Al Ahli before retiring due to a major knee injury.
The retired Italian defender, recognized as one of the best center-backs of all time, played in Europe for 19 seasons. Cannavaro has previously played for Juventus, Napoli, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid.
Jay-Jay Okocha of Austin.
Okocha left Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer in 2006 to join Qatar SC, where he spent a season. After only a season at Qatar SC, the former Super Eagles captain returned to Championship side Hull City in 2007. Following Hull’s elevation to the Premier League, Okocha was released by the club, forcing him to retire.
Samuel Eto’o, who most recently played for Qatar-based club Qatar SC. Before retiring from sports, the four-time African Footballer of the Year played just one season at the club, scoring six goals and registering one assist in 18 games.
When he was in his prime, the Cameroonian legend played for clubs such as Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Chelsea, among others.
Iniesta spent 16 years at Camp Nou before departing for Asia to end his spectacular career. Before joining the Japanese side Vissel Kobe in 2018, the Spaniard was largely regarded as one of the best midfielders of all time.
The 38-year-old is currently playing with Vissel Kobe, where he has 26 goals and 25 assists in 128 matches. The captain of the Japanese club is also the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner.
Xavi, now the manager of Barcelona, was a member of one of the greatest midfield trios of all time. During his playing career, he forged a good partnership with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.The Spaniard lived in Barcelona for 17 years before moving to Asia in 2015.
Xavi signed a three-year contract with Al Sadd, a Qatari club based in Doha. After his retirement, he was appointed coach of Al Saad, where he won seven trophies before moving for Barcelona.