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There is something really strange going on behind the scenes regarding Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Nassr soccer team.
The international soccer superstar signed with the Saudi-backed team for a reported $75 million per year for two-and-a-half years to play soccer. It bumps up to $205.5 million a year with image rights and a commercial deal.
But there’s already been a TON of drama.
So let’s break it down and try and see what is happening.
Ronaldo was originally set to make his debut with the club today. All 28,000 seats at the Msrool Park stadium were sold out and fans were eagerly anticipating one of the biggest faces in the game to now be theirs.
But wait just a minute!
FIFA announced yesterday that upon further review, Ronaldo would not be able to play because a 2-game suspension he received after he infamously took a fan’s cell phone and smashed it back in November after a match, would indeed carry over to another soccer federation. Essentially, FIFA ruled that just because Ronaldo doesn’t play in the England Football Association anymore, does not mean he gets to avoid serving the suspension.
Saudi Arabia and Al-Nassr have not said whether or not they would adhere to the suspension. This is also the Saudis we’re talking about. Do you want to be the official that has to go tell them that Ronaldo can’t play as he’s warming up on the pitch? Didn’t think so.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW…
But then get this – today’s game? Was suddenly called off due to an “electrical issue!”
You don’t say?!
The bizarre situation occurred as fan and workers were still not allowed into the stadium less than 2 hours before kick-off, according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
Al-Nassr eventually issued a statement that due to an electrical problem from the rain, the match would be postponed. Although it was indeed raining, the Daily Mail reports that some people that actually made it inside the stadium reported that the field looked fine. It’s unclear who made the decision to not only postpone the game, but not even open the gates.
EVEN MORE RONALDO DRAMA
If that wasn’t enough, there’s also reports that Ronaldo’s debut might not have been able to happen on Thursday because Al-Nassr is over their foreign player quota. One club official telling the AFP media outlet that “Al Nassr has not registered him yet because there is no vacancy for a foreign player.” The club already has eight foreign players and Ronaldo would be nine, which is against league rules.
The bottom line is, something is happening.
At the very least, the roll out of Ronaldo’s Saudi-debut has been a disorganized and chaotic mess.
Is Ronaldo trying to now suddenly back out of his monstrous multi-million dollar contract because he realizes that it may not be worth it?
WOULD RONALDO BE ALLOWED TO EVEN LEAVE THE COUNTRY?
There are also reports that Ronaldo has what is being referred to as a “Newcastle clause,” in his contract. Meaning if Newcastle FC qualified for the Champions League, that he would be able to temporarily leave the team and go play for the English soccer club. Various sources reported that Ronaldo demanded this. However, ESPN has countered that, saying that according to an Al-Nassr source the clause story “is all fake.“
Regardless, I highly doubt that Al-Nassr is just going to let their MASSIVE investment just suddenly up and leave for a couple weeks to go and play in the U.K.
But this may be EXACTLY why Ronaldo may be hesitant to continue with the deal.
THE LAST PLACE YOU WANT TO BE STUCK IS…
Amnesty International made headlines by publicly calling out Ronaldo to voice concerns about human rights abuses by the Saudi monarchy.
Yeah, that’s exactly what Ronaldo is going to do. Speak out about Saudi Arabia of all places, while actually IN Saudi Arabia. Has Amnesty International seen what occurred in Qatar and other places? You think Ronaldo is going to step into that right now?
You thought the Britney Griner situation made headlines? If Ronaldo was ever detained or somehow not allowed to leave the country, you’d have soccer fans losing their damn minds. It’d be an international crisis.
However, it is exactly because of the Griner example that Ronaldo may have second thoughts.
Some of these other countries like Saudi Arabia do not play nice. On top of that, they will use anything and everything for leverage and have zero, absolutely zero regard for who someone is.
You could already see the movie-like scenario playing out. What happens if Ronaldo says or does something and the Saudi’s revoke his passport and prevent him from leaving?
Forbes estimated that Ronaldo is already worth nearly half a billion dollars. Maybe the Saudi headache isn’t worth it.