Saudi Arabian Sports Minister welcomes a move for free agent Cristiano Ronaldo
Saudi Arabia’s sports minister has said he would “love” to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in the nation’s national soccer league.
The 37-year-old striker said last week that an unnamed club had offered him a two-year contract worth a staggering 350 million euros (£305 million), which he turned down.
After leaving Manchester United by mutual consent this week, the striker has once again become available for signing and, when asked about Ronaldo’s signing, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said “anything is possible”.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz says he would “love” to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in his league
The Portuguese striker has been the subject of transfer interest from Saudi Arabia for a few years.
speaking to bbc sportPrince Abdulaziz said: “Everything is possible, I would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league,” said Prince Abdulaziz.
‘It would benefit the league, the sports ecosystem in Saudi Arabia and inspire the youth for the future. He is a role model for many children and has a huge fan base.
Opening for the first time in an extraordinary interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV about a massive offer to play in Saudi Arabia, he admitted that the rumors of a €350m offer for two seasons were true.
Turning down the big payday, Ronaldo said: ‘It’s hard, it’s hard. But in the same way, I thought that he was very happy here; that I am still capable of scoring goals.
“I still believe that I can score many, many goals and help the team because I still believe that I am still good and capable of helping the national team, even Manchester United.”
However, it was announced on Tuesday that his contract at Old Trafford had been terminated by mutual consent.
The 37-year-old is a free agent after his contract with Man United was terminated by mutual consent.
In addition to Ronaldo, Prince Abdulaziz also spoke about the prospects for a financial takeover at Manchester United or Liverpool.
Both clubs have been exploring possible sale options for the past month.
“It’s the most watched league in Saudi Arabia and the region and you have a lot of Premier League fans,” Prince Abdulaziz said.
‘From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there is a lot of passion for football.
‘We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] the private sector comes in, because we know that will reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.’
The kingdom’s state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) has already made an investment; NewcastleUnited.
The Glazers could look to sell Manchester United in the future as they look for outside investment
Fenway Sports Group (owners John W Henry, second left, and Tom Werner, second right) have announced they are ‘offering bids’ to sell Liverpool in a dramatic ownership upgrade.
His comments come in light of the fact that the owners of both Premier League clubs put their respective clubs up for sale this month.
In early November, Fenway Sports Group announced that it was prepared to sell its majority stake in Liverpool and made the first significant move to end his 12-year ownership of the club.
United on Tuesday night confirmed the sensational news that they are indeed for sale in a statement issued at 9:30 p.m.
The Manchester club said it is designed to enhance future growth, but added that the club “will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment in the club, a sale or other transactions.”
Along with Prince Abdulaziz, American tech giant Apple has reportedly joined the race to buy Manchester United.
Former Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also been approached by groups looking to buy the club, asking him to act as a consultant for their possible purchase.
Any potential deal would almost certainly go down as the costliest acquisition of a football club in history, surpassing the £4.25bn fee a Todd Boehly-led consortium paid for Chelsea earlier this year.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor has also thrown his hat in the ring, having previously expressed interest in taking over the club.
Former Manchester United boss Ed Woodward is on the frame to advise prospective buyers of the club.