Aboubakar: Ronaldo tried to stop me leaving Saudi club

BBC | Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar has said Cristiano Ronaldo tried to talk him out of leaving Al Nassr, following the Portuguese star’s arrival at the Saudi club.

The 31-year-old, who had six months left on his Al Nassr contract, was fully aware that a foreign player would have to be sacrificed for the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Despite the former Man United and Real Madrid star attempt to stop him from leaving, Aboubakar opted for a return to Turkish side Besiktas by signing a two and a half years in January.

“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.”

Aboubakar, who scored twice at the 2022 World Cup including an historic strike against Brazil, had joined Al-Nassr in July 2021 from Besiktas.

Despite scoring 13 goals and providing six assists in 39 appearances for the Riyadh outfit, he admitted it was only logical to depart following the arrival of Cristiano.

“I left a little angry because it was not easy,” he added.

“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.

“I told him that I already wanted to leave before and, honestly, as Cristiano was coming, my playing time would be reduced and it was better for me 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 finished top scorer at the delayed African Cup of Nations on home soil in February 2022, by producing eight goals, the best tally since 1998 when Benni McCarthy (South Africa) and Hossam Hassan (Egypt) got seven apiece.

Nine months later, he stole the headlines in Qatar by scoring an “outrageous” goal for Cameroon in their Group G match against Serbia at the World Cup.

He also scored a late winner against Brazil for Cameroon to claim historic 1-0 win but his goal was not enough to send them through and he was sent off for removing his shirt in the goal celebration.

Aboubakar had starred in the final of the 2017 Nations Cup, netting Cameroon’s second goal to seal a 2-1 win over Egypt and a fifth continental title for the Indomitable Lions.

The former Lorient and Valenciennes striker has 39 goals in 95 appearances for his Central African nation.

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