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Policy in place to bring more superstars like Cristiano Ronaldo to the country – Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports

The Athletic

Saudi ArabiaThe Minister of Sports, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, says a strategy is in place to bring in more superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo to the Saudi Pro League.

Interest in the Saudi professional league has grown rapidly since Ronaldo joined Al Nassr at the start of the year, and Prince Abdulaziz is keen for more high-profile footballers to follow.

Lionel MessiRonaldo’s long-time rival has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia when his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this summer but is yet to finalize his plans.

Prince Abdulaziz claims that 137 stations around the world are now broadcasting the Saudi professional league because of Ronaldo’s arrival.

To talk to Athletic ahead of this weekend’s race in Saudi Arabia, Prince Abdulaziz said: “We have a policy and the policy is called the club’s support policy. We started in 2019 with the clubs because we saw that there was so much potential in the clubs but it was not organized properly.

“Football within the Kingdom was not built in the right place. The government is subsidizing a lot of budgets for the clubs to participate at a high level to ensure that we have good viewing and good football for people to promote that industry in the kingdom, and it is the number one sport in the kingdom.

“There is the possibility of bringing a new place and promoting the development of sport, and we saw that when Ronaldo arrived and how the attraction happened around the world.”

“I’ll give you an example, just with Ronaldo coming we have 137 channels around the world broadcasting the Saudi league. We wanted it at the beginning but they said they weren’t interested, but since one player came now it’s worldwide.”

Ronaldo has scored eight times in seven league games since joining Al Nassr, but those goals have come in just three of his appearances.

Prince Abdulaziz believes the Saudi professional league is more competitive than people think.

He added: “I think it’s a strong league, it’s not an easy league to play in and you’ve seen some games where Ronaldo plays against other teams and the teams are in a good position to show really good football.

“We’re still evolving and like I said, anyone who wants to come and help us through that journey is more than welcome to come.”

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(Photo: Getty Images)

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