MASON Greenwood fears he has squandered any chance of a fresh start in Saudi Arabia after calling the career of former Manchester United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo “dead”.
Greenwood, 21, used the term when discussing the superstar’s form while playing at Juventus before his return to Old Trafford in September 2021.
The comment appeared in March, three months after Ronaldo, 38, signed a two-year, £350m deal for Saudi outfit Al-Nassr.
When Ronaldo found out he was furious – and urged league bosses not to consider a move for his former team-mate.
A source said: “Ronaldo is not known for his thick skin.
“He was really upset by what Greenwood said – but he has good reason to be, given what Ronaldo has accomplished in his career and where Greenwood is at.”
“When Ronaldo joined United, Greenwood’s nose was out of joint because he ended up playing a lot less than he had hoped, so their relationship was difficult.”
Ronaldo was the first superstar to move to the Saudi league and he’s a big influence.
The source added: “Ronaldo is treated like royalty in Saudi Arabia and what he says stands.
“He would have enough clout there to stop clubs from signing Greenwood if he wanted to.”
The Sun understands Saudi league bosses are also reluctant to sign Greenwood as the country is already suffering from poor PR.
A senior Saudi Premier League official said it would be “very surprising” if attempts were made to sign Greenwood given the huge upswing for women’s football last year, which saw an 86 per cent increase in registered players in the country.
A source said: “If Greenwood is too toxic for football in Saudi Arabia, it makes you wonder where on earth he could rebuild his career.”
The second season of the Saudi women’s league begins on October 11. The women play bareheaded and the male fans watch from the stands.
Clubs from Turkey and Italy have already expressed interest in Greenwood, but yesterday Serie A club Roma, managed by ex-United manager Jose Mourinho, distanced themselves from the player.
Former Liverpool and England midfielder Steven Gerrard, now manager of Saudi club Al-Ettifaq, also dismissed claims he was interested in doing it as “fake news”.