Cristiano Ronaldo given chance to double £175m Saudi paycheck

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Cristiano Ronaldo could double his current earnings in Saudi Arabia if he chooses to promote their bid to host the World Cup in 2030 over that of his own country, according to reports. The Portuguese forward recently joined Al-Nassr on a bumper two-year contract that will see him earn around £175million each season following his acrimonious exit from Manchester United back in November.

The deal made Ronaldo football’s highest-paid player by a considerable margin, but the 37-year-old is reportedly set to take home twice as much money by backing the Saudi bid alongside his playing duties for Al-Nassr. The proposal will see Ronaldo increase his salary to a staggering total of £300m per year, according to AFP, which works out at just under £1m each day.

It is not yet clear whether the extra £175m on top of Ronaldo’s existing wage would be paid in a single lump sum or if it would be spread out on a weekly or monthly basis if he agrees to the deal. He would be going against the wishes of his native country by throwing his support behind the Saudi campaign, though, with Portugal having teamed up with Spain and Ukraine to pursue the hosting rights in 2030 for themselves.

A spokesperson for Ronaldo has denied that he has agreed to promote the Saudi bid, although it remains to be seen whether the situation will change over the coming weeks and months as a result of the vast sums of money on offer. Ronaldo’s arrival at Al-Nassr was reportedly backed by Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman alongside a handful of other senior royals, while the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has also been staying in a luxury ‘kingdom suite’ during his short spell in the country to date.

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Ronaldo is yet to make his debut for Al-Nassr, though, due to an two-match FA ban handed down to him after slapping an Everton fan’s phone to the ground at Goodison Park last year. He is expected to play his first game in Saudi Arabia for a combined team of Al-Nassr and Al Hilal players in a friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain, which could see him renew his long-term rivalry with fellow great Lionel Messi later this month.

He was recently urged by Al-Nassr manager Rudi Garcia to recapture his love of football in order to ensure that his spell in Saudi Arabia is successful, with the Portugal striker having endured a tough time of things on and off the pitch over the last 12 months.

“The only thing I wish for Ronaldo is that he rediscovers the pleasure of playing and smiles again because in recent months between Manchester United, the national team and then at a personal level he hasn’t had easy moments,” said Garcia while attending the Dakar Rally. “If he finds the pleasure of playing again, that will already be a goal achieved.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo insisted at his official unveiling ceremony earlier this month that he was motivated by the challenge of adapting to a completely new environment with Al-Nassr, telling reporters: “So far I’m feeling very good, I’m so proud to make this decision in my life, and as you mentioned before in Europe my work is done.

“I won everything, I played at the most important clubs and for me now it is a new challenge in Asia. I’m grateful that Al-Nassr have given me this opportunity to show and develop, not only for the younger generation, but for the women’s generation. It’s a challenge but I’m very proud.”

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