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Saudi Arabian Sports Minister talks up Cristiano Ronaldo move

Saudi Arabian Sports Minister talks up Cristiano Ronaldo move

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has said that he “would love” Cristiano Ronaldo to make the move to the country to continue his football career.

Ronaldo is now officially a free agent, with Manchester United terminating his contract at Old Trafford following the extraordinary interview that he gave to Piers Morgan.

During the discussion on TalkTV, the 37-year-old confirmed that he had been offered a two-year deal worth in the region of £305m to make the move to the Saudi league.

“It’s true, yes it’s true (offer from Saudi Arabia)… but what the press keeping saying, the garbage that nobody wants me, which is completely wrong,” he told Morgan.

“And I was happy here to be honest, I was motivated to do a great season here. But they [the media] continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How do they not want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with a national team?

Cristiano Ronaldo pictured during Portugal training on November 19, 2022© Reuters

“It’s hard, it’s hard. But in the same way, I thought that I was very happy here; that I’m still capable of scoring goals.”

Al-Hilal are believed to be keen to sign the Portugal international on a free transfer, and Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister has talked up a move to the country’s domestic league.

“Anything is possible, I would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league. It would benefit the league, the sports eco-system in Saudi and it will inspire the youth for the future. He’s a role model to a lot of kids and has a big fan base,” he told BBC Sport.

Ronaldo has also been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Newcastle United and Sporting Lisbon, as he weighs up his options for after the 2022 World Cup.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo in action against Aston Villa on November 3, 2022© Reuters

The experienced striker became the first men’s player to score in five World Cups when he found the back of the net in Portugal’s 3-2 success over Ghana on Thursday.

Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal also confirmed that the country’s government would support any takeover bids for Man United and Liverpool, with both clubs up for sale.

“It’s the most-watched league in Saudi and the region and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League. From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there’s a lot of passion about football.

“We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.”

Ronaldo is unlikely to make a decision on his future until after the 2022 World Cup.

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