18, February 2023
Vincent Aboubakar has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo tried to stop him from leaving Al-Nassr after his lucrative transfer to the Saudi Arabian club.
The Portuguese forward joined Al-Nassr at the end of December after mutually terminating his contract with Manchester United. Ronaldo reportedly became the world’s highest-paid player after signing for the Saudi club, however, his arrival meant that one international player from the squad had to be sacrificed. Cameroon captain Aboubakar, who had six months left on his contract, was the man to depart, but he says that Ronaldo tried to talk him out of leaving Al-Nassr. The forward ultimately stood “firm” on his decision as he already had an offer on the table from Turkish side Besiktas.
“We talked a bit and his [Cristiano’s] opinion was that he wanted me to stay – I told him no, that I will leave for family reasons,” Aboubakar told Talents d’Afrique on Canal+.
“He asked me where my family was, I told him they are in France and so I prefer to go to Turkey, it’s closer. And he told me ‘it’s better, if your family is really far away, it’s more complicated’. I was firm, I wanted to leave. I had offers, including one from Besiktas. They wanted me to stay until the end of the season. I said ‘no honestly president I prefer to leave. It was a bit complicated but finally they let me go.”
Aboubakar registered 13 goals and six assists in 39 appearances for Al-Nassr after joining in July 2021. He went on to admit that he felt “angry” when he had to leave but agreed to the proposal as he was not ready to accept a minimised role in the squad. “I left a little angry because it was not easy. When Cristiano arrived, [Al Nassr] coach Rudi Garcia called me into his office and told me that normally an international player has to leave, it’s either me or Jaloliddin Masharipov [from Uzbekistan], either me or Pity,” Aboubakar added.
Aboubakar scored twice in the 2022 World Cup with Cameroon, including a strike against South American heavyweights Brazil, but couldn’t prevent them exiting at the group stage.