Cristiano Ronaldo Deal | What Transfer of the No.7 Means for Saudi Football |
In Euro 2020, a footballing icon removed two soft drink bottles from the table, and the company lost billions. Fast forward to 2023, that same sports star came to a Saudi Club and changed their fortunes. With the Cristiano Ronaldo deal, Al-Nassr is targeting more than just trophies. It is going to be a huge step forward for the club’s business. A signing so huge will also impact the football culture of the nation, and rather a much broader region. But is the price tag justifiable? Does this mean the end of Ronaldo’s career? These are a few questions that we discuss further.
So now, let us delve deeper to understand the Ronaldo Saudi Arabia conundrum.
The story before the Arrival
As we said, there is more to the deal than just trophies. Cristiano’s arrival in Al-Nassr has been nothing short of sensational. However, his exit from Manchester United might be termed as controversial, at the least.
After his successful stint at Juventus, CR7 came back to United in 2021. He was greeted with cheers at Old Trafford and rightly termed as a “Walking work of Art. Vintage, beyond Valuation, beyond forgery or imitation”. However, things got sour in a season and a half.
The footballing great (in)famously criticized the club’s management and ownership on the Piers Morgan Show. He did not hold back on his verbal barrage. This led to, what was supposed to be, a dreamy homecoming turned nightmare. Finally, there was a mutual agreement and Ronaldo parted ways with the English club for the second time.
However, this was seen as an opportunity by the Saudi club. They took no time to move forward with the negotiations and shortly after the World Cup 2022, they announced that they hit the jackpot.
Why did Al-Nassr Make Ronaldo Highest Paid Athlete?
To be clear, the Portuguese forward is now the highest-paid athlete in the world. His contract worth 173 million Euros annually put him on the top of the lucrative list. This includes players like:
- Lionel Messi (football) – Paris St. Germain, or PSG
- LeBron James (basketball) – Los Angeles Lakers
- Neymar Jr. (football) – PSG
- Stephen Curry (basketball) – Golden States Warriors
There are many who might question if CR7 is worth the amount. For this, we need to analyze the Ronaldo Al Nassr impact.
Ronaldo Contract from Business Perspective:
- The marquee signing of arguably the GOAT footballer will be a huge exposure for the Saudi league. It will transform the popularity of the sport in the nation. With the Qatar World Cup being revolutionary in terms of technology, the entire middle east seems set to become a footballing force in upcoming years;
- Countries like the USA and China are known to offer huge pay to iconic footballers. This has helped them considerably improve the footballing culture. Saudi did the same, just better (again, arguably);
- The club saw a massive rise in its fan base. Apart from the fact that CR7 has an overflowing trophy cabinet, he is also the most followed person on the planet. The effect was imminent as Al-Nassr saw a spike in Instagram followers. To quote figures, the club went from 873k followers to 10M;
- Moreover, it is a masterstroke for the club’s business. The Ronaldo 7 jersey sales are going to compensate a lot for the expenses. Plus the club will attract more sponsors, obviously.
It is quite clear that the Cristiano Ronaldo deal has an immense business impact. However, there is another side to this multi-million deal. What does it mean for the player? Does it point towards the end of another great? Let us explore this in the next section.
What did the Deal Means for Ronaldo?
CR7’s career spans around two decades. He has been sending shockwaves around the footballing world ever since he was a teenager. You can find his name in record books of all countries where he has been. Moreover, his trophy cabinet includes 5 Ballon D’Ors, 4 European Golden Boots, 1 Puskas, and many more.
The list is even larger when it comes to team awards. To name the most notable ones:
- Euro cup with Portugal;
- 5 Champions league;
- 7 Domestic League Champions across three countries.
He has nothing left to prove. In his own words, “I did my mission in Europe well and achieved everything”.
He is now on a mission to make football a major sport in the Middle East. This is itself a challenge for the 37-year-old. His compensation is well justified, given his credentials. Furthermore, he is going to bring the club a lot more than what he makes.
What Does the Cristiano Ronaldo Deal Means for Saudi Football?
When the sensational deal went through, it saw a reaction that no one expected. Even Al-Nassr’s official website. The website crashed and became inaccessible due to the enormous traffic surge. The hashtag HalaRonaldo (welcome Ronaldo in Arabic) was trending on Twitter for quite some time. And yes, all this took place just after the announcement of the deal. Imagine the impact once football fans see the famous number 7 in the Yellow and Blue of Al-Nassr.
This deal is going to be a game-changer for the entire nation. There are already many businesses that have invested in European clubs (PSG, Man City, Newcastle United). However, this is the closest they have come to promoting the sports in-house.
A marquee signing is going to attract top talent from various clubs across the world. Very soon, telecasters are going to pile up for the rights. Eventually, Saudi will get on level terms with big leagues across the world.
To sum it all up
Cristiano Ronaldo is more than just a footballer. He is a philanthropist, an inspirational figure, a global icon, and has a humongous fanbase. He brings a lot more to a club than footballing experience. Rather, the Cristiano Ronaldo deal has opened the door for sponsors, young players, and club followers. With this one signing, the Saudi football association has put itself on the World map. It won’t be long till they become a force to reckon with.