Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo will earn €200 million in addition to his club salary to boost Saudi Arabia’s joint 2030 World Cup bid, a source close to his club told AFP on Monday.
The Portuguese superstar, 37, unveiled to thousands of Al Nasr fans in Riyadh last week, is the most famous player ever to sign for the club in Saudi or any other Gulf country.
The oil-rich kingdom, along with Egypt and Greece, is considering a bid to host world football’s 2030 showpiece tournament, and Ronaldo’s ambassadorial role could boost his reported earnings in the country to more than €400 million. Will bring A source with knowledge of the deal said on condition of anonymity that Ronaldo would be paid more than €200 million for the deal.
He will be an ambassador for another €200 million bid for the Saudi World Cup 2030. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus player’s arrival comes just weeks after neighboring Qatar became the first Arab country to host the World Cup.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who has also won the Champions League five times and holds the goal-scoring record for that tournament, is expected to make his Al Nassr debut on January 22. The deal was supported by senior members. The royal family supporting Al Nasser, including Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – widely known as MBS – said the source.
The source added that King Salman’s son MBS and his brother Naif are all honorary members of Turkey and Rakan Al Nasser, as their father also did not become crown prince. He wanted to provide supremacy to his beloved club and bring it into international limelight. The best way was to bring in the best player in the world.
The deal has been financed by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund of the conservative state, the source said. The source said that Al Nassr and other Saudi clubs do not have the funds for such a huge deal. It is the PIF that has secured the payment.
More recently PIF has undertaken other high-profile sporting ventures, including the purchase of a majority stake in English Premier League club Newcastle United. It also controls the lucrative LIV Golf League, which has split the world of elite golf by attracting top stars from the US PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
According to another source close to Al Nasr, the prince was the one who put Ronaldo’s surprise deal in motion. He said it was MBS’s brother who made the suggestion and demanded to seal the deal at any cost. They are all fans of Al Nasser and they want to prove that their team is truly international, the source said, referring to Al Nasser’s nickname.
Al Nasr have nine Saudi league titles, but have never won the Asian Champions League, unlike four-time winners Al Hilal and Al Ittihad, who have lifted the trophy twice. Wales manager Rob Page wants Gareth Bale to remain involved in the international set-up after the star forward announced he is hanging up his boots.
Bale, a five-time Champions League winner at Real Madrid, ended an impressive career on Monday after winning 111 caps for his country and scoring 41 goals, both national records for the men’s team. The 33-year-old made the decision to step down after a disappointing performance for Wales at the World Cup in Qatar, with Page’s team failing to get out of their group and Bell struggling with a lack of match fitness.
Page revealed that Bell contacted him on Sunday to inform him of his decision to retire and said he fully agreed with his captain. He told the BBC, I told him that I think this is the right time to bow down. You have just scored in the World Cup and you have everything on your CV, what you have done for this country is unbelievable.
Wales begin their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign in March and Page confirmed that Bale, who plays for Los Angeles FC in MLS, would have been selected for that double-header against Croatia and Latvia.
But there is also a hint of sadness as this is the last time we will see Gareth Bale wearing a pair of boots for Wales. Page said he had spoken to Bell about staying within Welles’s establishment, although the exact nature of any potential role is unclear.
I would still love to have him involved in some capacity, what is that role I don’t know yet, he added. Going back to normal life has been a big adjustment for him, but we’ll have another chat with him in a few weeks. We will come up with a plan to move forward as she has a lot more to offer in the changing room and hotel environment.