Cristiano Ronaldo’s new coach jokes he wanted to sign Lionel Messi

Christian? I wanted Leo! Al-Nassr coach Rudi Garcia risks an early fallout with new £175m-a-year star Ronaldo – by telling reporters he ‘tried to sign’ his great rival Messi after his World Cup win in Qatar

Cristiano Ronaldo’s new coach has risked upsetting the star by laughing as he told reporters he wanted to sign Lionel Messi first after his World Cup heroics.

Al-Nassr boss Rudi Garcia was asked about Ronaldo’s arrival in Saudi Arabia on an eye-watering deal worth £175million-a-year.

He replied: ‘First I tried to take Messi’ before dissolving into laughter.

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on an eye-watering deal

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed for Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on an eye-watering deal

Ronaldo's new coach Rudi Garcia, however, risked upsetting the star with a joke that he wanted to sign Lionel Messi first

Ronaldo’s new coach Rudi Garcia, however, risked upsetting the star with a joke that he wanted to sign Lionel Messi first

Ronaldo wouldn’t be too happy about being considered inferior to the Argentine but let’s hope it doesn’t cause too much friction when he arrives at Al-Nassr in the coming days.

The Portugal forward was unveiled on Friday, holding the yellow and blue shirt of Al-Nassr with his trademark No 7 on the back.

He had been a free agent since the mutual termination of his Manchester United contract following his infamous interview with Piers Morgan.

French coach Garcia, formerly of Roma, Marseille and Lyon, took charge of Al Nassr back in June.

Garcia has been manager of the Saudi Arabian club since June and now coaches Ronaldo

Garcia has been manager of the Saudi Arabian club since June and now coaches Ronaldo

Lionel Messi won the World Cup with Argentina last month, cementing his status as the superior player to Ronaldo in the eyes of many fans

Lionel Messi won the World Cup with Argentina last month, cementing his status as the superior player to Ronaldo in the eyes of many fans

Ronaldo's World Cup ended in tears as Portugal were knocked out by Morocco in the last eight

Ronaldo’s World Cup ended in tears as Portugal were knocked out by Morocco in the last eight

He has insisted that ‘the great players are the easiest to manage’ ahead of Ronaldo’s arrival, despite the player’s fall-out with Erik ten Hag at United and Portugal coach Fernando Santos at the World Cup.

Garcia told AS: ‘I think that any coach would be delighted to train a great star like Cristiano and already in November 2021 I was very close to going to United.

‘They chose Ralf Rangnick, but I met twice with John Murtough and Darren Fletcher [United’s director of football and technical director respectively].

Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Friday as he agreed a £175m-a-year contract

Ronaldo was unveiled as an Al Nassr player on Friday as he agreed a £175m-a-year contract

Ronaldo's Man United deal was ripped up last month after a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan

Ronaldo’s Man United deal was ripped up last month after a tell-all interview with Piers Morgan

Ronaldo conducted a bombshell interview with Morgan last month in which he took aim at Ten Hag, Manchester United and various other figures

This move came just days after Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV

‘I came very close to coaching this club and was very motivated to go, who wouldn’t be motivated to coach United? Any coach. United’s simple interest has allowed me to be sure of my ambitions in the future.

‘I have always thought that the great players are the easiest to manage because they are very intelligent, I verified this with Francesco Totti at Roma.’

Al Nassr fans, meanwhile, have expressed their excitement at Ronaldo’s imminent arrival by snapping up replica shirts and chanting his name in the stands.

A 1-0 win over Al-Khaleej on Saturday preserved their one-point advantage at the top of the Saudi Pro League ahead of Ronaldo’s arrival.

A video shared on Twitter showed excited Al Nassr fans chanting Cristiano Ronaldo's name as they won in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday night

A video shared on Twitter showed excited Al Nassr fans chanting Cristiano Ronaldo’s name as they won in the Saudi Pro League on Saturday night

Al-Nassr have been printing Cristiano Ronaldo shirts following confirmation of his arrival

Al-Nassr have been printing Cristiano Ronaldo shirts following confirmation of his arrival

Supporters have already been queuing at the club store to pick up the famous No 7 shirt

Supporters have already been queuing at the club store to pick up the famous No 7 shirt

Fans have been posing with the shirt which Ronaldo will wear when he plays for the club

Fans have been posing with the shirt which Ronaldo will wear when he plays for the club

CRISTIANO RONALDO TO AL-NASSR – ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

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