Thursday, April 18News That Matters

Ronaldo has World Cup clause in Al-Nassr contract to follow Messi

Cristiano Ronaldo will become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s World Cup bid as part of his deal to join Al-Nassr.

He completed his move to the Saudi Pro League team on Friday, ahead of the January transfer window. He will earn a huge £173million per year through his basic salary, bonuses and image rights.

Al-Nassr have also inserted a clause into his new contract, one which is similar to a deal Lionel Messi has also signed with the Middle Eastern country. Negotiations continued during the World Cup and were completed this week to see Ronaldo finally leave Europe for the first time.

According to Marca, a clause in Ronaldo new contract will see him become an ambassador for the Saudi bid for the 2030 World Cup. The Middle Eastern country is believed to be lining up a joint bid with Egypt and Greece for the right to host the competition in six years.

Ronaldo will represent Saudi’s image abroad, with his arrival believed to be a ‘matter of state’. The deal follows that of Messi’s move to become an ambassador for Saudi Arabia.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is said to earn more than £20m per year in return for him promoting the tourism to the country. Messi has been paraded by the Saudi state during a visit in May.

Ronaldo’s decision to follow in Messi’s footsteps to become an ambassador for the country will cause a major concern for human rights groups. Saudi Arabia has been accused of a number of abuses, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, mass executions and the persecution of the LGBT+ community.

After Messi’s deal came to light, he was urged to rip up his agreement with the Saudi state. A group representing the families of prisoners in the nation made their concerns clear, with Ronaldo likely to face such calls to speak out on Saudi Arabia’s abuses.

“You are an inspiration to millions and what you say and do really matters. To put it bluntly – you have enormous power, but with that power comes great responsibility,” their open letter read.

“The Saudi regime wants to use you to launder its reputation. Prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, sexually assaulted, and held in prolonged solitary confinement – often for months at a time – on an industrial scale.

“Women’s rights campaigners, reformist preachers, Shia activists, democracy campaigners, indeed anyone who criticises or even questions the regime can face long-term imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty.

“If you say ‘yes’ to Visit Saudi you are in effect saying yes to all the human rights abuses that take place today in modern Saudi Arabia. But if you say ‘no’ you will send an equally powerful message.

“That human rights matter, that decency matters, that those who torture and murder do not do so with impunity. The world must stand up to those who trample on others.”

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