ACristiano Ronaldo will definitely have to get used to the name of his new home office. They once bore such evocative titles as Old Trafford, the theater of Manchester United’s dreams. Or Real Madrid’s legendary Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Or the Juventus Stadium in Turin. From now on, the five-time world footballer and 2016 European champion will play at Al-Nassr FC’s Msool Park. Capacity 25,000 spectators. There is no doubt that the seats will be full in the future.
The capital club have bought one of the biggest attractions in world football – and according to media reports, the now 37-year-old star is paying staggeringly huge sums and, according to British tabloid ‘The Sun’ , making him the highest paid athlete of all time. Ronaldo is said to earn the equivalent of around €200m per season. He signed for two and a half years. That would mean: half a billion.
A “very inspiring vision”
According to the media, following his career which ended in Saudi Arabia, he should be paid no less utopian as an ambassador for a World Cup bid. He could then also come to a reunion with his former great world rival footballer Lionel Messi.
The 35-year-old Argentinian world champion is the face of a tourist campaign by Saudi Arabia, a strictly conservative kingdom which also wants to impose itself through major sporting events. But Messi will still play for Paris Saint-Germain this season and maybe next and will probably be in the Champions League again.
Neither does Ronaldo. “I look forward to a new football league in another country,” he said in the club’s announcement on Saturday night. He spoke of a “very inspiring vision” of the club: “Together we will help the team to be more successful.” After the Zoff-Aus at Manchester United at the end of November, he hadn’t found a new employer in Europe before. the disappointing World Cup.
This signing will not only inspire the club to be even more successful, “but also our league, our nation and generations to come,” the club said. Ronaldo is set to be introduced this Saturday when his new club, nine-time champions, most recently in 2019, join Al-Kaleej. It remains to be seen whether Cristiano Ronaldo will play against Al-Tai in the first match of the new year and his new career phase in front of a maximum of 25,000 fans at Msool Park on January 5.
The Saudi sports minister has welcomed Ronaldo to the Gulf state. “Wishing you and your family wonderful experiences in the kingdom,” Abdulasis bin Turki al-Faisal wrote on Twitter. “Welcome to your new home”. With the transfer, “one of the greatest of all time” would come to Saudi Arabia, the Saudi sports minister continued. The Saudi Pro League has also hosted Ronaldo. “One of the greatest footballers will join Al-Nassr,” the tweet read. That’s where the story comes from.
Critics accuse the strictly conservative Gulf state of wanting to polish its own reputation with its commitment to professional sport. The country has repeatedly come under international criticism for human rights violations – most notably for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the government. He was brutally killed by a murder squad from Riyadh in 2018.
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