By Victor Kanayo
The Saudi Arabia Government is now targeting two football stars – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to join their league in what would be an audacious move.
Saudi, one of the oil-rich Asia countries will have to convince Messi and Ronaldo, who still feel they can still play at a higher level in Europe.
Ronaldo has become a free agent after Manchester United mutually canceled his contract following the explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
Messi’s contract will come to an end at the end of this season at PSG, and it has been suggested that he is unhappy at the club.
According to the Mirror, Saudi Arabia Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, his country has the motive of bringing the two soccer icons to their football league.
“Who wouldn’t want him to play in their league? He’s a role model to many young players – him and Messi,” he said.
Prince Abdulaziz added that Messi’s ambassadorial role with the Saudi tourism board has benefited the Middle Eastern country
“That’s benefited a lot in terms of tourism for the kingdom. If they can, I’d love to see them both play in the Saudi league,” he said.
Sums exceeding £300 million have been mentioned when referencing an offer for Ronaldo as he approaches what is probably the last big contract of his career.
Again, there would be concerns about sportwashing if Ronaldo was at a Saudi club.
The Saudi Arabia sports minister said the country would “definitely support” any bid from the private sector to buy one or both of Manchester United and Liverpool, who have both been put up for sale by their respective American owners.
A Saudi-backed investment fund already owns Premier League side Newcastle.
Apart from the human rights concerns which many feel are not properly considered, it would be tough for the FA to come to a clear conclusion over whether Newcastle would be owned by the same entity, should United or Liverpool seek approval for a Saudi-backed takeover.