Former Nigeria captain Odion Ighalo believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Saudi Arabia was not out of his passion for football but about money.
Ronaldo became the highest paid footballer in the world after joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Nassr in January this year on a free transfer following his departure at Manchester United.
The 39-year-old signed a two-year-contract worth £173million-per-year ($222m or €200m).
The move has ushered a wave of big-name transfers such as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Ruben Neves.
Ighalo, who was the top scorer in the Saudi Pro League last season, thinks the motivations behind his and other stars’ decision to play in Saudi Arabia boil down to money.
The Nigerian spent two years at Al Hilal before his release last month.
He said to OmaSportsTV, as cited by Goal.com: “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, two years or when God will tell it to stop.
“I know it won’t be more than three 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.
“Is Ronaldo still playing out of passion? Ronaldo has earned 100 times more than I have in my entire life and yet he went to Saudi Arabia. Did he do that out of passion? It’s for money, bro.”