Cristiano Ronaldo officially signed with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr just before New Year’s Eve, but an MLS club was in the running. And it’s not one you’d expect.
Sporting Kansas City held weeks of talks and numerous meetings with Ronaldo’s representatives, with the Portuguese icon considering the move after his Manchester United contract was terminated by mutual agreement, sources told MLSsoccer.com.
The financial package didn’t quite match Ronaldo’s reported salary ($75 million on-field, $200 million total) in the Middle East, but it was competitive. It would have included marketing deals and “name and likeness,” not just salary. SKC’s owners were involved in the discussions and a selling point to help convince a global star to live in the Midwest included minority owner Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs superstar quarterback.
SKC started planning details for how life would change if the 37-year-old Portuguese superstar were to sign – including security, gameday operations and more. The club also put Ronaldo on their “discovery list” (essentially meaning they wouldn’t need to acquire his rights from another MLS club if a deal got done), signifying how serious they believed the talks to be.