The management of the Saudi Al-Nasr club has offered its fans the biggest deal in its history, to include Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo, on a two-and-a-half-year contract, in exchange for an astronomical annual salary.
And in record time, the Al-Nasr administration, led by Mesli Al Muammar, closed the deal for Ronaldo, who was out of contract during the World Cup in Qatar 2022, with English club Manchester United.
Mesli Al Muammar, who has a master’s degree in sports marketing and communication from Manchester Metropolitan University in Britain, flew to Madrid, where the 37-year-old Portuguese star was staying, to quickly persuade him to join the club called “Al-Alamy ” join. ” in Saudi sports circles.
While Al-Nasr Club did not disclose the financial details of the deal, Saudi reports confirmed that Ronaldo will receive 500 million euros for two and a half seasons, meaning his annual salary will be 200 million euros. which is the highest ever in history. .
Who financed the deal?
There were conflicting reports in Saudi Arabia about the party that financed the Ronaldo deal, as the Minister of Sports, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, indirectly announced that the ministry was providing support for the win in the deal.
He said in a tweet: “I am happy that one of the best players in the world is present to start his new career in Saudi Arabia and we will soon support the rest of our clubs for quality deals with international stars. “
Immediately after the spread of the Saudi minister’s tweet, Saudi newspapers reported that the Ministry of Sports is seeking to attract international names to the league during the next summer period, similar to the Argentine world champion Lionel Messi, the Croatian Luka Modric and the Spaniard Sergio Busquets.
However, Mesli Al Muammar appeared at a press conference and ignored the mention of the role of the Ministry of Sports in supporting the agreement, stressing that those who funded the arrival of Ronaldo, the partners and sponsors of Al-Nasr Club is.
And according to what was monitored by “Arabi 21”, the sponsor company, whose name was associated with it more than the rest in the transaction, is “Al-Wasail Advertising”, whose young chairman, Muhammad Al-Khereiji, was present with Musli Al-Muammar in Madrid, the moment the contract with Ronaldo was signed.
However, the constant is that there are two parties who financed the Ronaldo deal, which exceeds the financial capabilities of Al-Nasr Club, especially since the capital club is one of the clubs that face periods of financial instability on a semi-seasonal basis see.
Since Prince Khaled bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz, one of Al-Nasr’s supporters, was forced to pay previous membership fees of the club, in order to obtain a certificate of financial competence, which allowed Al-Alamy to send Ronaldo to the Saudi and Registering International Football Associations. .
And last August, Al-Nasr announced a budget surplus of 22 million riyals (5.4 million euros) only in its budget for the 2021-2022 season, as its income amounted to 477 million riyals (119 million euros), and expenses 455 amounted to. million riyals (113 million). euro), which means that the club’s expenses this past season amounted to only about half of Ronaldo’s expected annual salary.
– Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal (@AbdulazizTF) December 30, 2022
– Yacoub. (@X99i3) January 7, 2023
Action with Walid (@ActionMa3Waleed) January 1, 2023
– Majed Al-Alamy 45 (@majed9_999) January 3, 2023
Ronaldo’s deal comes as a win, given Saudi Arabia’s work to implement the goals of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030.
The sports sector is one of the pillars of the vision, as the government has pumped huge sums of money into football, golf, rally racing and others over the past years.
“Arabi 21” monitors three challenges facing Saudi Arabia in reaping profits from the Ronaldo deal.
Does the transaction achieve financial returns?
Despite the astronomical amount that Saudi Arabia will pay (depending on the declaration of the Minister of Sports that the government supports the deal), Riyadh and the Al-Nasr administration seek to earn financial returns that exceed the cost of the deal may cover or part thereof.
Mesli Al Muammar said that the Ronaldo deal will help Al-Nassr attract new sponsors in the coming period, indicating that the increase in sponsors will help reduce the salary burden of the Portuguese star.
turn, and enter Tweets seriesSaudi financial expert Abdulaziz Al-Omari said that Vision 2030 depends on the sports sector to contribute from 1 to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2030, which is expected to be 6.5 trillion riyals (162 billion euros) at that time will be.
Al-Omari reviewed the huge number of viewers of the Ronaldo deal on social media and said that this wide distribution will help the Kingdom to rely on Ronaldo, and perhaps others later, as ambassadors for the 2030 or 2034 World Cup host file.
He added that Saudi Arabia’s goal in 2030 is for foreign investments to reach 388 billion riyals (96 billion euros), adding: “The number is huge, unless we are present in the scene in all sectors, it will not reach doesn’t become.”
In tourism, Abdulaziz Al-Omari said that the Kingdom aims to reach 100 million visits, of which 55 million are from foreigners coming from abroad. He said that Ronaldo’s presence at the opening of tourism projects, such as the Red Sea and Qiddiya projects, will contribute to this.
– News – Sport (@sport_ekh) January 4, 2023
Ronaldo has already started promoting tourism in Saudi Arabia, as he visited the Diriyah region, which hosts the “Diriyah Nights” activities, and appeared with the minister of sports.
According to Abdulaziz Al-Omari, the full attendance of Al-Nasr fans in their stadium, “Marsool Park”, which can accommodate 25,000 spectators, and the demand to buy the Portuguese star’s shirts will contribute to 13 percent of the cover transaction value. .
He pointed out that the Nasr administration could cover the agreement in other ways, including increasing the Nasrawi honorary membership from 400 thousand to one million riyals (249 thousand euros).
However, what Al-Omari said conflicts with the fact that the popularity of Al-Nasr club is small outside the borders of Saudi Arabia, and thus the issue of Western fans buying Ronaldo shirts, or the “Al-Alamy “-match attendance is not guaranteed.
Former Saudi and Al-Nasr star Hussein Abdel-Ghani said he does not see the technical and financial feasibility of the Ronaldo deal, saying the transfer of Spanish star Andres Iniesta to a Japanese team for example proved that the external audience around the world did not follow suit, and the “Vissel Kobe” shirts did not spread in Europe or Spain.
Abdul-Ghani added that Japan, with its 125 million population, or China, when it attracted stars with a population of more than a billion, could achieve self-sufficiency in public attendance and the sale of shirts, except victory.
Human rights organizations and Western media began to accuse Saudi Arabia of financing the Ronaldo deal, with the aim of washing his reputation in the human rights file.
The British newspaper “The Guardian” said that Ronaldo’s deal came on the last day of the year 2022, which saw the execution of at least 147 people in Saudi Arabia.
The newspaper stated that “complaints about human rights violations disappear before these sporting events.”
Saudi Arabia is facing a challenge from the pressure that human rights organizations will put on Ronaldo to express his opinion on the kingdom’s human rights violations, as Amnesty International, “Amnesty”, said that “Cristiano Ronaldo’s signature of victory is consistent with a wider pattern of sports washing in the Kingdom.”
And she added: “It is very likely that the Saudi authorities will promote Ronaldo’s presence in the country as a way to distract from the country’s appalling human rights record.”
“Instead of offering praise to the kingdom, Ronaldo should use his huge public platform to draw attention to human rights issues in the country,” she added.
While the Spanish “el orden mundial” website said that the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo is part of Saudi Arabia’s strategy to dominate world football.
He added that the Kingdom is keen to diversify its economy and limit the expansion undertaken by Qatar, as the sovereign wealth fund bought the English club Newcastle, similar to what Qatar and the UAE have done, through Paris Saint- Germain and Manchester City for sale.
He said: “Ronaldo’s transition to victory is only part of the sports washing strategy carried out by the Saudi government as it pumps billions of dollars into sponsoring sports teams, organizing competitions and buying clubs.”
Through the Ronaldo deal, Saudi Arabia aims to continue its project of raising the domestic league to the world, in which it has started since 2007, which saw the first professional season, after having a mix of professional and amateur contracts wash.
The arrival of Ronaldo coincides with the last season of the Saudi League, with the participation of 16 teams, as the number of clubs will be increased to 18 teams next season, similar to major international leagues, such as the German League.
Also, starting next season, 8 foreign players will be allowed in each team inside the green rectangle, which means attracting more high-value professionals.
The “Foot Mercato” website quoted James Drusy, a specialist in football geopolitics, as saying that Al-Nasr Club, for example, was recently burdened with debt.
He added: “To fix all this, it was first necessary to organize the tournament and the clubs better. So Saudi Arabia decided to bet on the investment of princes and rich businessmen in the country.”
He added that the purpose of this is to reduce the burden on the state to support clubs that were previously fully owned by him, and to give credibility to the outside world by privatizing and turning the clubs into companies.
The market value of the Saudi league also increased from 304 million euros to 334, with the arrival of Ronaldo, according to the “Transfer Market” website, which is a high value compared to all Arab leagues.
The Saudi league includes a constellation of stars. In addition to Ronaldo, there is the Brazilian top scorer Talisca, the Argentine star Betty Martinez, the Spanish defender Alvaro Gonzalez, and behind them the brilliant Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.
Al-Hilal also includes the Brazilian player Matthews Pereira, who disappointed the “leader” fans after playing in the English Premier League, in addition to the fiery Nigerian goalscorer Edin Ighalo, his Malian colleagues Musa Mariga, the Brazilian Michael, the Colombian Gustavo Cuellar, and the Peruvian Andre Carrillo.
In the youth, the veteran Argentine player Ever Banega, the fiery Spanish striker Santi Mina, and the captain of the Polish national team, Gregor Korchvoyak, play.
While Al-Ittihad relies on its Moroccan scorer Abdel-Razzaq Hamdallah, and Egyptian rock defender Ahmed Hegazy, in addition to other stars such as Angolan Helder Costa, Brazilian Romarenho and Igor Cornado, behind them the brilliant Brazilian goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe.
Al-Ittifaq club also includes prominent stars, such as the Tunisian Naim Sliti, the Turk Bert Ozdemir and the Swedish Robin Cawson.