Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Jensen and Conor McGregor are among those paying tribute to Tom Brady after the NFL veteran announced his retirement.

One year to the date after he first announced he was hanging up his cleats, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has confirmed he is quitting "for good" after previously walking back his decision.

Across a career stretching 23 years, two teams, seven Super Bowls and five MVP awards, the 45-year-old has earned a reputation as one of the sport's all-time greats.

His announcement has sparked an outpouring of affection and respect from his peers, with fellow quarterback Mahomes leading the tributes.

The Kansas City Chiefs man posted three goat emojis to Twitter, in reference to the acronym GOAT, which stands for greatest of all time.

Brady's Tampa Bay team-mate Jensen, who won Super Bowl LV alongside him, penned a heartfelt message after he helped him through injury last season.

"Thanks for pushing me every day this season, mentally and physically, to get back on the field," he wrote.

"I'm glad I was able to take the field with you one last time!  Enjoy retirement, don't dog me too much in the booth. Love ya man!"

Praise for Brady was not limited to American football, with MMA veteran McGregor praising the player's Irish roots.

Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter also offered his congratulations on "an unbelievable career", adding: "It was fun to watch!"

Brady spent the majority of his career with the New England Patriots, taking the team to six Super Bowl successes between 2000 and 2019.

He moved to the Buccaneers for the 2020 season, and inspired them to a surprise championship in his first campaign in Florida.

At the end of his career, Brady ranks first for a host of statistical categories.including most passing yards (89,214), regular season touchdowns (649) and playoff touchdowns (88).

In 2004, Jose Mourinho set out his stall early at Chelsea.

"We have top players and, sorry if I'm arrogant, we have a top manager," said the Portuguese in his first press conference at the Premier League club, not long after he had led Porto to Champions League glory.

"Please don't call me arrogant, but I'm European champion and I think I'm a special one."

Devilishly handsome, with a wicked charm and natural bravado. Men wanted to be him. Women wanted to well... you get the gist. Not only did Mourinho talk the talk, but he walked the walk, winning the EFL Cup and the Premier League in his first season.

That was Chelsea's first domestic title in 50 years, and at the time they broke the record for the most points in a Premier League season (95) and fewest goals conceded (15).

Mourinho was, indeed, 'The Special One', and it's undoubtedly his most famous quote.

But there are plenty of others. To celebrate his 60th birthday, here are some classic Mourinho moments.

Announcing himself in England

With seconds left on the clock in a 2003-04 Champions League last-16 tie, Mourinho's Porto needed a goal at Old Trafford. "If we don't score we are out, if we score we are in, these are the details of the knock-out," Mourinho told UEFA in 2015, when reflecting on that night in March 2004.

Benni McCarthy saw a long-range free-kick parried out by Tim Howard, and Costinha was on hand to hammer home and silence the crowd. As his players charged towards one of the corners to celebrate, Mourinho leaped off the bench and cantered down the touchline, arms aloft. By full-time, he was already heading down the tunnel.

"We were in the dressing room, and it didn't look like it was the last 16, it was like it was the quarter-finals," Mourinho recalled. "Then someone knocks on the door, and it was Sir Alex [Ferguson] and Gary Neville, the captain, and they told us congratulations, you deserved it, enjoy it and good luck.

"It was something that in Portuguese culture we are not used to, but it's something I kept and during my career I did it a few times, when some opponent did something magnificent against my team. I kept something from big people, that can make others feel special.

Wenger wars

Mourinho enjoyed a fierce rivalry with Arsene Wenger during his first stint in the Premier League, and even went as far to suggest the Arsenal boss was something of a voyeur.

"There are some guys who have this big telescope to see what happens in other families. He must be one of them," Mourinho said.

Parking the bus

You would be forgiven for thinking the term "parking the bus" had been common footballing parlance in Britain for many, many years. However, it was Mourinho who first introduced it, after his Chelsea team were held to a goalless draw by Tottenham.

None too happy with Spurs' defensive approach, Mourinho said: "They brought the bus and left the bus in front of the goal as we say in my country." 

In October of last year, the phrase "park the bus" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Too many medals

It must be nice when you've won so much you can throw medals away. That's just what Mourinho did after he had guided Chelsea to a second straight league title in 2006.

The success marked Mourinho's fourth straight domestic title, and after being presented with his winners' medal, he threw that and his suit blazer into the stands. He was quickly presented with another medal; that, too, ended up in the crowd.

The knee slide

During Mourinho's second season at Real Madrid, a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal saw off Manchester City in the Champions League group stages, and Mourinho celebrated like only he can, jumping from the bench and sliding to his knees.

It was a match that also saw former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher reprimanded by police in the crowds. Rock 'N' Roll on and off the pitch.

Mourinho's time at Madrid unravelled the following campaign when he fell out with key players, including Ronaldo. "Maybe he thinks that he knows everything and that the coach cannot improve him anymore," Mourinho said of his compatriot.

I prefer not to speak...

Mourinho's second stint at Chelsea bore a league title in the 2014-15 season, but also proffered a quote that has lived on as an online meme and a viral clip ever since.

Chelsea lost 1-0 to Aston Villa in March 2014, with his team having Willian and Ramires sent off, and seeing a goal disallowed. Mourinho, too, was sent to the stands.

"I prefer not to speak," he told Sky Sports. "If I speak I am in trouble, big trouble, and I prefer not to be in big trouble. If I speak, I am accused of bringing the game into disrepute." 

Mourinho went on to speak about the referees for a few more minutes.

Gerrard's slip

Mourinho famously 'shushed' Liverpool fans in an encounter with the Reds during his first spell at Chelsea, and it was his team that dealt a severe blow to Liverpool's title hopes in the 2013-14 season.

In April 2014, Liverpool had just three games left and held a three-point lead over Manchester City. Yet a slip from club great Steven Gerrard allowed Demba Ba to pounce and put Chelsea ahead.

Chelsea netted a second late on, leading Mourinho to charge down the touchline and celebrate in front of the Kop. City went on to win the title.

Respect, respect, respect

Mourinho's time as Manchester United manager ended in typically volatile fashion, and the signs were there from the start of the 2018-19 season.

Following a 3-0 home defeat to Tottenham, Mourinho delivered a scathing response to his doubters as he stormed out of a press conference. 

"Just to finish, do you know what was the result – 3-0," Mourinho said while holding up three fingers. "It means 3-0. But it also means three Premierships, more Premierships alone than the other 19 managers together. Three for me, two for them. Respect, respect, respect."

The Dele warning

Mourinho's words of advice to Dele Alli were featured prominently in the Tottenham-focused All Or Nothing documentary series, aired in 2020.

"I am 56 now and yesterday I was 20. Time flies. One day I think you will regret it if you don't reach what you can reach," Mourinho, then at Spurs, told Alli.

"I am not expecting you to be the man of the match every game. I am not expecting you to score goals every game. I want just to tell you that you will regret it. You should demand more from yourself."

Less than 18 months after the documentary aired, Alli's Tottenham spell was over, moving to Everton on what was initially a free transfer at the age of 25. Six months after that, he was in Turkey with Besiktas, where he has been heavily criticised for his performances.

History maker

As Mourinho celebrates his 60th, one thing cannot be denied – he will go down as one of the best managers to ever grace the game.

He joined Roma in 2021 and does what he does best. He won.

Last year, Roma won the Europa Conference League, making Mourinho the first coach to complete the UEFA treble by winning the Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League, and Europa Conference League (in place of the defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup).

He was the fifth manager to reach the final of all three current major European competitions and the first to reach a major European final with four different clubs.

Mourinho's record speaks for itself. Of his 1,076 games as a coach, he has won 677 (62.9 per cent), with his teams scoring 2,082 goals. 

He is, after all, The Special One.

The International Olympic Committee is considering whether to include Russian and Belarusian athletes under a neutral flag at Paris 2024.

The two nations are currently banned following the IOC calling on federations to exclude them amid the former's invasion of Ukraine last year.

On Wednesday, the IOC confirmed they intend to uphold sanctions against state and government officials ahead of next year's games.

But in a statement, they acknowledged they would explore opportunities for athletes from both nations to compete in France.

"No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport," the organisation's executive board said.

"[They would be] neutral athletes and in no way represent their state or any other organisation in their country.

“No flag, anthem, colours or any other identifications whatsoever of these countries being displayed at any sports event or meeting, including the entire venue."

The move has been met with criticism however, and comes just weeks after Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky called for athletes to remain barred.

A joint statement from Athletes for Ukraine and athlete association Global Athlete argued any decision to relax sanctions would endorse the war in Ukraine.

"The return of Russian and Belarusian athletes to international competition, especially the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, will see the Russian state use athletes once more to bolster the war effort," they said.

"[This will] distract from the atrocities in Ukraine on one of the biggest multi-sport stages in the world."

Russian athletes competed under the flag of the Russian Olympic Committee at Tokyo 2020 after the nation was officially banned following multiple doping scandals.

Shakhtar Donetsk president Rinat Akhmetov was left with "mixed feelings" after Mykhaylo Mudryk joined Chelsea for a record transfer fee on Sunday.

Chelsea beat off competition from Premier League leaders and London rivals Arsenal to sign Mudryk for reported fee that could reach £89million (€100m).

That fee is the highest received by a Ukrainian club, with the 22-year-old signing an eight-and-a-half-year deal at Chelsea.

The Ukraine international is considered to be one of the hottest prospects in world football and Akhmetov was sorry to see him go, but is looking forward to seeing Mudryk thrive at Stamford Bridge – where he watched the Blues beat Crystal Palace 1-0 on Sunday.

Akhmetov told the club's official website: "I have mixed feelings: in order to win European trophies, I should invite such footballers as Mudryk to our club, to our Ukrainian league and not send them to the best championships and the best clubs in the world.

"However, I am sure that Mykhaylo will win respect, sympathy and love of all connoisseurs of world football with his speed, his technique, his impressive and beautiful play.

"Mykhaylo Mudryk is a Shakhtar graduate. The player joined the Academy of the Miners in 2016 and debuted with the senior team in the autumn of 2018 at age 17. 

"Mudryk became the Ukrainian Super Cup winner (2021) together with the team. Fans recognised Mykhaylo Mudryk as Shakhtar Player of the Year twice (2021, 2022).

"FC Shakhtar thanks Mykhaylo for impressive play, good and important goals, and significant contribution to the team's victories. We wish you success in the strongest league in the world, many trophies and personal awards, great career achievements and constant enjoyment of football."

Graham Potter believes Chelsea fans are in for a treat with Mykhaylo Mudryk's direct approach.

The Blues announced the signing of Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk during the first half of their 1-0 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Sunday, and paraded the Ukraine international at Stamford Bridge during half-time.

That victory came courtesy of Kai Havertz's second-half header and ended a run of three straight defeats across all competitions for the Blues. 

Mudryk had looked set to join Premier League rivals Arsenal, but Chelsea swooped in to secure his signature, reportedly paying £89million (€100m) to sign the 22-year-old.

Potter is confident he will be a hit with Chelsea's supporters, telling reporters: "You're never surprised in the transfer window. Things happen when you don't expect them to happen.

"He's a player with a big future, one versus one he's very direct, and he attacks the backline. I think our supporters will really like him."

Eyebrows have been raised at Chelsea's decision to hand the 22-year-old an eight-and-a-half-year contract, but Potter sees no problem.

"I'm the head coach and as you know, I've had enough to worry about and what is right for the club," he added. "If I'm here for the length of his contract, I'll be happy."

Mudryk is Chelsea's fifth signing of a busy January transfer window, and one of those additions made their debut against Palace, with Benoit Badiashile, signed from Monaco, featuring in defence.

The 21-year-old impressed, making a game-high nine clearances and playing more successful passes (71) than anyone on the pitch.

"I thought Benoit did well, really well," Potter added.

"It was a good game for him. [Kalidou] Koulibaly has had a lot of football and the turnaround from Thursday was a consideration.

"He passes the ball well and when he needed to head the ball out he did. He has to adapt to the Premier League. It will take him some time, but it was very positive."

With Chelsea dealing with a long injury list, as well as the suspension of on-loan Joao Felix, Havertz came good at the other end.

Since the start of last season, only Harry Kane (11) has scored more headed goals in the Premier League than the Germany international (six), who acknowledged it has been a difficult spell for the Blues.

"The last few weeks were tough," he said. "For everyone at the club, it is not easy under these circumstances. A lot of things changed this year.

"We have so many injuries, 10-12 injured players. Today we had five young players in the starting XI and they are doing a really good job at the moment.

"I think I was in a good spot. I play in the number nine position and I take the responsibility to score more goals. As a team need to score more goals. I will do my best to help the team."

Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest during Monday's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, which the NFL says will not resume this week.

Bills safety Hamlin collapsed on the field in the first quarter of Monday's game at the Paycor Stadium after making a tackle on Bengals receiver Tee Higgins.

The Bills subsequently announced Hamlin was in critical condition after being rushed to a nearby hospital, and an update issued on Tuesday confirmed he remained in intensive care.

A statement from the Bills read: "Damar Hamlin spent last night in the intensive care unit and remains there today in critical condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

"We are grateful and thankful for the outpouring of support we have received thus far."

Meanwhile, the NFL has ruled the game – which was stopped with just under six minutes played – will not be resumed this week, confirming no decision regarding a possible rescheduling had been made.

"The NFL continues to be in regular contact with the medical team caring for Damar Hamlin, and also the Bills and Bengals organisations and the NFL Players Association," the league said.

"After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week.

"The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date. The league has not made any changes to the Week 18 regular season schedule.

"We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available."

Journalist Marshall Kramsky described the "bone-chilling experience" of being in the stadium as Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest in Monday's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Kramsky, who covers the Bengals, was reporting on the fixture at the Paycor Stadium.

The game was suspended after 24-year-old Hamlin, who as of Tuesday was in critical condition in a Cincinnati hospital, collapsed on the field.

Hamlin received emergency treatment, including CPR, before he was transported from the stadium in an ambulance.

"I've never seen a stretcher come out so fast. I'm a former athlete myself and in my journalism career or in my sports career, I've never seen such quick action," Kramsky told Stats Perform.

"We heard the mics of the players, [Bengals running back] Joe Mixon screaming 'check him out, check him out!' after Damar Hamlin got up and collapsed.

"The players were immediately extremely emotional. I've never seen so many players crying, adult men hysterical. The ambulance comes out shortly after, CPR is going on for about 10 minutes, the AD defibrillator, that's being used. They're shocking his heart back to life.

"And then, not a fan left the stadium. Everyone and every player was still on the field kneeling, praying or crying."

The NFL eventually elected to suspend the game, though Kramsky never had any doubt it would be called off.

"This game was over as soon as he went down, which is crazy because that doesn't happen in professional sports," he added.

"The NFL took a while to make their decision. But it wasn't like they really made it, it was never a decision. It was just a matter of getting through the appropriate rungs.

"They're seeing the players, Joe Burrow the Bengals quarterback went into the Bills locker room later on. I saw Josh Allen extremely teary-eyed going into the Bengals locker room. It was emotional. Nobody really processing it, because how do you? 

"It was a bone-chilling experience in the stadium. Players were still there until past one o'clock in the morning. It was a crazy night."

Kramsky was at least able to take some solace in the fact that fans of both teams, and from across the sporting world, have united behind Hamlin.

Having been drafted by the Bills in 2021, Hamlin established the Chasing M Foundation Community Toy Drive, and the fund raiser had received over $3million in donations in the wake of the incident.

"Tragedy brings people together and sports brings people together," Kramsky said.

"Yes, incredible. Unfortunately, not surprising, because it takes tragedy for this to happen. And it has brought people together.

"If you look at his GoFundMe for his toy drive, it had for over two years less than $3,000 raised. There's over $3million raised now.

"So yeah, as soon as that stretcher came out football became secondary. No one cared, it was all about Damar Hamlin and his family. And people did come together.

"Bills fans and Bengals fans are coming with candles praying, standing outside the stadium, outside the hospital. It's been a nice experience in that regard."

Cristiano Ronaldo vowed to change the rest of the world's perception of football in Saudi Arabia as he was formally unveiled as an Al Nassr player.

Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Saudi Pro League leaders Al Nassr last week, having spent over a month as a free agent after leaving Manchester United.

At his unveiling in Riyadh on Tuesday, Ronaldo declared he had nothing left to prove in Europe and insisted the move did not represent the end of his distinguished career.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner may well have appeared in the Champions League for the final time, but he claims to have a fresh set of aims in Saudi Arabia – including contributing to the development of women's football in the country.

"It's a new challenge and I'm so glad that Al Nassr has given me this opportunity to develop, not only in football, but also for the young generations, and for women as well," said Ronaldo.

"Many people probably don't know, but Al Nassr has a women's football team as well. Women's football is very competitive here.

"I know what I want, and I know, of course, what I don't want as well. It's a good chance to change, to help with my knowledge and my experience to grow many, many important things.

"I want to give a different vision of the country from the footballing perspective of everybody. This is why I took this opportunity."

While Ronaldo – who could make his Al Nassr debut against Al Ta'ee on Thursday – will undoubtedly be the most high-profile star to have featured in the Saudi Pro League, club president Musalli Al-Muammar insists he will be treated differently to other players.

"During the negotiations, Cristiano made it clear that he wants to be treated like the rest of our players," he said. "He doesn't want special treatment.

"Ronaldo is the greatest player ever. We hope players learn from him and replicate his attitude."

Head coach Rudi Garcia, meanwhile, is not expecting any issues as he integrates Ronaldo into his squad. 

"Ronaldo is one of the best ever. It's an honour for me and for Al Nassr to have him here," Garcia said.

"It's fantastic for the league and for the country to have Ronaldo here. 

"He will be the easiest player to train. There's nothing to teach him. My goal is to make Ronaldo happy."

Cristiano Ronaldo is unfazed by criticism of his decision to join Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr, declaring that his "work is done" in Europe.

Having seen his Manchester United contract terminated in November after criticising the club in an inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan, Ronaldo sealed his move to Al Nassr last week.

His decision to join the Riyadh-based side has surprised many, with it coming just a few months after Ronaldo attempted to leave United in search of Champions League football.

However, the 37-year-old believes he has nothing left to prove in European football, claiming he turned down proposals from several clubs to sign his two-and-a-half-year deal with Al Nassr.

"I'm so proud to make this big decision in my life and in football," Ronaldo said at his unveiling on Tuesday. 

"In Europe, my work is done. I won everything and played for the most important clubs in Europe. 

"This is a great opportunity for me, not only in football but to change the mentality of the new generation in Saudi Arabia. 

"I had many opportunities in Europe, in Brazil, in the United States and even in Portugal, but I gave my word to this club, for the opportunity to develop football in this amazing country."

Ronaldo's conduct during his second stint at United was widely criticised, while he was relegated to the role of substitute for Portugal's two knockout games at the World Cup.

However, the forward sees playing in the Saudi Pro League as a genuine challenge, hitting back at those who have questioned the motives behind his move.

"Many people speak and give their opinions, but really they know nothing about football," Ronaldo said.

"If you give the example of the World Cup, the only team who beat the champions [Argentina] was Saudi Arabia, don't forget that.

"For me, it's not the end of my career. I wanted to change and I don't worry about what people say. I took my decision and I have responsibility for it.

"I'm happy to be here and I know the league is really competitive, I saw many games. I'm ready to play tomorrow [against Al Ta'ee] if the coach thinks it's good! 

"I beat all records in Europe, so I want to beat all records here. This contract is unique, because I'm a unique player. So for me, this is normal.

"I'm coming here to win, to play, to enjoy, to be part of the success of the country and the culture of the country. What I want is to enjoy, to smile and to play football."

Pele would have surpassed the achievements of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had he played in the modern era.

That is according to Jocky Scott, who faced the Brazil great in the final competitive game of his career in 1977.

Pele, who died last week aged 82, ended his remarkable playing career with a two-year stint at the North American Soccer League's New York Cosmos, helping them triumph in 1977's Soccer Bowl against the Seattle Sounders before hanging up his boots.

The three-time World Cup winner's abilities are often compared to those of modern greats Messi and Ronaldo, as well as the legendary Diego Maradona, but former Scotland forward Scott believes he should be recognised as the greatest to play the game.

"I think you've got to recognise different eras in football, and over the last 10 or 15 years with Ronaldo and Messi, they deserve the accolades they get for being the best players," Scott told Stats Perform. 

"But I think they're the best players of this era, or have been the best players of this era. 

"They are now coming to the end of their careers. Someone else will take on that mantle over the next 15 or 20 years but in my opinion, I will always say Pele is definitely the best player."

Scott added Pele would have achieved even more had he enjoyed the advantages of modern football.

"I think he would be better," Scott said.

"To be honest, I think any player like Pele, [Diego] Maradona, George Best, [Johan] Cruyff – attacking players who are great individuals and can all score goals – nowadays, with the way the game is played where you're virtually not allowed to tackle anybody, I think they would be much, much better players.

"Physically, he was a strong man and when you look back at pictures, way back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he played both in Santos and for Brazil, he got some abuse on the pitch.

"He used to take a hell of a lot of abuse, but he would still be there after 90 minutes and he would still shrug them aside and score the goals he scored.

"When I came up against them [the Cosmos] in America, that was in 1977. Pele at that time would have been 36, his physique was unbelievable. He could still play. In my era, he was the best player in the world."

While Scott was unable to prevent Pele from ending his stint in New York with a 2-1 win, he did manage to nutmeg the Cosmos man during their meeting – a moment he continues to cherish. 

"It's not something you think about during the game. It's just a case of there's an opponent, get the ball and get past them, and he pulled me back and fouled me," he said.

"Anybody at home that sees this picture and has a word with me about it, I just laugh and tell them I nutmegged him and that was him getting his own back, pulling me back and he didn't like it. 

"It doesn't matter who it was it but at the end of the day, it was a great picture for me."

Gianni Infantino has asked each country to name one stadium after Pele in a tribute to the Brazil great.

Pele, the only man to win the World Cup three times as a player, passed away last week aged 82.

Brazil entered a national period of mourning after Pele's death.

Pele's coffin was placed in the centre circle at Urbano Caldeira Stadium in Sao Paulo, the home of his former club Santos, and FIFA president Infantino was in attendance on Monday.

"We are going to ask that all countries in the world have at least one stadium with the name of Pele," Infantino told reporters in Brazil.

"[This will be] so that children know Pele's importance [to the game of football]."

Naming a sporting venue after a former player is not an uncommon occurrence, with such examples as Hungary's Puskas Arena and the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.

However, it is more unusual for a venue to be named for a player outside their native country, though again not implausible.

Serie A side Napoli renamed their home ground the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona in memory of the Argentina great following his death in 2020.

South Korea's Gwangju World Cup Stadium meanwhile was named after Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who took the nation to a fourth-place finish at the 2004 World Cup.

Pele, whose 77 goals for Brazil stands as a joint record, is set to be laid to rest on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo is looking forward to a new experience in Saudi Arabia as he hailed Al Nassr's "inspiring" vision.

Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner, completed his move to Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr on Friday.

The 37-year-old forward, one of the greats of the modern era, has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal after joining on a free transfer following his departure from Manchester United in November.

In his inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan, aired shortly before the World Cup, Ronaldo claimed to have turned down a move to Saudi Arabia in the last transfer window.

On his arrival at Al Nassr, however, Ronaldo says he was inspired by his new club's vision.

"I'm thrilled for a new experience in a different league and a different country, the vision that Al Nassr has is very inspiring," he said.

"I'm very excited to join my team-mates, and to help the team to achieve more success."

Al Nassr labelled Ronaldo's transfer as "history in the making".

A statement added: "This is a signing that will not only inspire our club to achieve even greater success but inspire our league, our nation and future generations, boys and girls to be the best version of themselves."

Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly set to complete his move to Al Nassr.

The Portugal forward saw his second stint at Manchester United brought to an early conclusion last month following an inflammatory interview with Piers Morgan, in which he revealed his unhappiness with the Red Devils and their manager Erik ten Hag.

Ronaldo has been a free agent since United terminated his deal shortly after the start of the World Cup, at which he scored one goal and was reduced to the role of substitute for Portugal's two knockout games.

Having revealed he rejected a move to the Saudi Pro League ahead of this season, Ronaldo had been strongly linked with Al Nassr since leaving Old Trafford.

While Ronaldo denied a deal had been agreed earlier this month, Al Nassr sporting director Marcelo Salazar said the club would remain patient in their attempts to take him to Riyadh – and that approach looks to have paid off.

On Friday, widespread reports suggested Ronaldo had agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal with Al Nassr, where it is suggested he will earn £62million (€69.9m) per season.

Those reports also claimed Ronaldo had already undergone one part of his medical.

Ronaldo's move will bring the curtain down on his remarkable stint at the top of the European game.

Ronaldo could potentially be available to make his Al Nassr debut on Thursday, when Rudi Garcia's side host Al Ta'ee.

Al Nassr are second in the Saudi Pro League after losing just one of their first 10 games this season.

Former Brazil international Zico has paid tribute to the late Pele, stating his legacy in football will "remain forever".

Pele, a three-time World Cup winner, had been moved to palliative care early in December after his body stopped responding to cancer treatment. His death was announced on Thursday.

Tributes have flooded in for the footballing icon after he left a lasting legacy on Brazil and Santos, for whom he scored 643 goals in 659 matches over an 18-year period.

Zico, who played 71 times for Brazil between 1976 and 1986, has paid his respects, saying: "Today is a very sad day for Brazilian football, and for world football. We lost our king.

"May Edson Arantes do Nascimento rest in peace, but King Pele will remain for eternity. I just have to say thank you so much for all the teachings, I learned a lot about football through his sticker album.

"He is a guy we are proud to be Brazilian, especially us, in the area of football, for everything he represented, for everything he did for the benefit of Brazilian football, all the changes, all the references.

"So, king, rest in peace. You did everything that was possible in football. Brazil loses its king, but his work will remain forever."

Pele helped to "grab the hearts and minds" of football in the United States during his time with the New York Cosmos, the club's former COO told Stats Perform.

Brazil legend Pele passed away on Thursday following a battle with colon cancer, with news announced by his daughter after his family travelled to be with him at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital before Christmas Day.

As well as the lasting legacy he left on Brazil and Santos, Pele's move to the Cosmos in 1975 also helped to massively grow the sport in the United States.

After Pele, the only man to win the World Cup three times, joined the Cosmos, fellow superstars such as Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto followed him to the team, while others such as Johan Cruyff, Eusebio and George Best also joined clubs in the North American Soccer League (NASL).

The Cosmos faded into obscurity and ultimately folded after Pele retired in 1977, but the game continued to develop in the United States and the World Cup in 1994 was hosted in the country.

Erik Stover, COO of a reformed Cosmos between 2012 and 2021, lauded Pele's influence on building the sport, telling Stats Perform: "I don't think you can really quantify it. It's so hugely impactful over generations.

"Before Pele came to the Cosmos, soccer in this country was a very small immigrant sport. Obviously, there's a long history of it in the United States, but it didn't grab the hearts and minds until Pele was part of the Cosmos. 

"He was just still the greatest player in the world [when he signed for Cosmos], probably. It brought immediate credibility to the NASL. It legitimised that league.

"He became the most valuable athlete in the United States overnight. [Those] playing at Bayern Munich or Manchester United or wherever in the world, they were paying attention to it.

"That led to players like George Best and Beckenbauer [joining the NASL], some of the greatest players in the world still in their prime coming to the NASL.

"Suddenly, there's youth soccer clubs popping up and leagues that had never existed before, all on that massive wave of what the Cosmos and Pele was able to do."

Pele was just 17-years-old when he won his first World Cup in 1958, and is still the youngest player to ever win the competition.

Stover acknowledged Pele's enormous global impact from such a young age, adding: "You'd be hard-pressed to find someone that was at a better ambassador globally for his sport.

"He really, really accepted that role and carried it with relish.

"Wherever he went, he drew a crowd and took the time to say hello, pose for pictures, sign autographs from a very, very young age. He realised his specialty was in what responsibilities came with that.

"I was privileged enough to spend some time with him around the world. We went to Havana, Cuba. As an American going to Cuba, I grew up in a time where you couldn't do that.

"So not only to have that opportunity, largely because Pele was still part of the Cosmos, but then to see the love the Cubans had for him, he was absolutely beloved.

"He treated people with respect because he knows that they are going to remember that for the rest of their lives, and he didn't want that moment to be spoiled."

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