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What Cristiano Ronaldo’s Move to Al-Nassr Entails for Football & Saudi Arabia

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Cristiano Ronaldo was unveiled by Al-Nassr in a fully packed 25,000-seater Mrsool Park stadium in the Saudi capital, Riyadh on Tuesday, after the 37-year-old put pen-to-paper on a two-and-half-year deal worth around 200m euros.

The deal surprised many when it was first revealed as it was assumed Ronaldo will stay in Europe after his release from Manchester United.

In his press conference on Tuesday, the Portugal international said he had multiple offers from Europe, Brazil, the US, and his country, Portugal but chose Al-Nassr.

“I can say now that many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, in Australia, the US, and even in Portugal; many clubs tried to sign me but I gave my word to this club.”

Ronaldo is a football legend, and as much as it is a footballing move where he’ll score goals and get the fans on their feet, it’s more of a business and image move for Al Nassr.

The club’s Instagram followership increased from 860,000 to 8.4 million in less than a week after it was announced he was joining Al-Nassr.

Its website also crashed due to a traffic overload. That’s one of the things you get when you sign a player as big and marketable as Cristiano Ronaldo.

Jersey sales have skyrocketed, with fans queuing to buy Ronaldo’s Al Nassr shirt with his trademark number seven.

From another perspective, it’s a big deal for Saudi Arabia. After neighbor and rival, Qatar hosted the 2022 World Cup, it has been reported that Saudi Arabia is interested in making a bid to host the 2030 World Cup with Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman seen with FIFA boss, Gianni Infantino on various occasions.

Whether that goes through or not, having a player like Ronaldo brings more exposure to the Saudi league and the country, improving its chances of securing any major hosting right.

This isn’t the first time a star player has been signed in a league for on and off-field purposes.

In 2017, the Chinese Super League with major investments, recruited the likes of Oscar, Hulk, Carlos Tevez, and Ezequiel Lavezzi.


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