NICOSIA: Cristiano Ronaldo will receive 200 million euros in addition to his club salary to support Saudi Arabia’s joint 2030 World Cup bid, a source close to his club told AFP on Monday.
The 37-year-old Portuguese superstar is unquestionably the most well-known player to join a club in Saudi Arabia or any other Gulf country. Last week, he was introduced to thousands of Al Nassr supporters in Riyadh.
Ronaldo’s ambassadorial role will boost his reported earnings in the country to more than 400 million euros ($428 million), and the oil-rich kingdom is considering a bid to host the World Cup in 2030.
According to the source, who had knowledge of the agreement but requested anonymity, Ronaldo would receive more than 200 million euros ($214 million) for the deal.
He will be an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s World Cup bid of $200 million in 2030.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus player arrived just a few weeks after Qatar’s neighbour 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 scoring record for that competition, is set to make his Al Nassr debut on January 22.
According to the source, senior royals who support Al Nassr supported the agreement, including Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS.
According to the source, MBS (and his brothers), Naif, Turki, and Rakan, have all been honorary members of Al Nassr since before their father became crown prince.
They wanted to give their beloved club an advantage and make it famous all over the world. Bringing in the best player in the world was the best option.
The transaction was funded by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the conservative kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, according to the source.
Al Nassr and the other Saudi clubs do not have the enormous funds required for such a significant event. According to the source, PIF had made the payment secure.
The PIF has recently made other high-profile sporting investments, including purchasing the majority of Newcastle United’s stock in the English Premier League.
It has also funded the lucrative LIV Golf League, which has divided the elite golf community by luring top players away from the US PGA Tour and DP World Tour.
According to another source close to Al Nassr, the princes were the ones who initiated the unexpected Ronaldo deal.
MBS’s brothers were the ones who suggested and sought to close the deal at any cost, he claimed.
They are all Al Nassr fans and they wanted to prove their team really is the International, the source continued, using the nickname for Al Nassr.
In contrast to four-time champions Al Hilal and Al Ittihad, who have both won the Asian Champions League twice, Al Nassr has won nine Saudi league titles but has never won the Asian Champions League.