Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to be an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s 2030 World Cup bid as the Portuguese star is set to be unveiled as an Al-Nassr Football Club player today, according to reports.
Ronaldo signed for the Saudi outfit last week and has already landed in Riyadh, with Al Nassr President Musalli Al Muammar, vice-president Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al Omrani and chief executive greeting him on arrival.
The five-time Ballon D’or winner is set to be unveiled at Mrsool Park, the home of the Saudi Pro League leaders.
Ronaldo is set to earn a whopping £175 million ($209.8 million/€199 million) a year after a fairy tale return to Manchester United ended badly.
However, Spanish newspaper MARCA has claimed that apart from the lucrative contract, Ronaldo is expected to be an ambassador of Saudi Arabia’s joint bid with Egypt and Greece to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup.
Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, who won the World Cup last month after defeating France in the final, is also expected to join Ronaldo after he was unveiled as the Gulf nation’s tourism ambassador earlier.
It has been reported that Messi pockets £20m ($23 million/€22.7 million) a year in return for promoting tourism in the country.
The Paris Saint Germain forward also visited the country in May last year.
Saudi Arabia has faced criticism for its human rights record, women’s rights and its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.
Having two of the best footballers of their generation by their side is to strengthen the country’s ambition to stage football’s global event.
However, last November, Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia claimed that the country “does not have an official bid to host the FIFA World Cup”, despite being strongly linked to a joint project with Egypt and Greece.
The nation has hosted multiple professional boxing fights and is a Formula 1 Grand Prix host.
The 2034 Asian Games, next year’s World Combat Games, the 2025 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, and the 2029 Asian Winter Games are all set to be held in the country.