Saudi Arabia says it wants investors to take over Manchester United and Liverpool – and hopes Cristiano Ronaldo will come to play in its domestic league.
Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Heaven news – With the sovereign wealth fund already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.
It is the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that is interesting Prince adores.
He is said to be keen on Ronaldo signing for a Saudi Pro League team after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a botched departure this week from United.
“Who wouldn’t want him playing in their league?” Prince Abdulaziz told Heaven news. “He is a role model for many young players – him and Messi.”
Sky Sports News It is understood that Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal are exploring a deal to sign Ronaldo.
The vision would see the Saudi league with both Ronaldo and Messi, who is still signed to Paris Saint-Germain but is already signed up to promote Saudi Arabia.
“This has benefited a lot in terms of tourism for the kingdom,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “If they can, I would like to see them both play in the Saudi league.”
Newcastle were purchased by the Saudis last year through the Public Investment Fund, which the Premier League claims is not controlled by the government despite being headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now two other Premier League clubs are on the market – Liverpool and United – and the sports minister wants either – or both – to fall under Saudi ownership.
“I hope so, if there are investors and the numbers add up, and it makes a good business,” he said. “Then the private sector could come in, or companies could come in, from the kingdom.”
He added: “The Premier League is the best league in the world. Everyone watches the Premier League. It is the most watched league and there are passionate fans of the teams in the kingdom. So it would be a benefit for everyone.”
“I can say that we have a strong league. It is not one of the strongest in Asia. You know, we are building to a better future. And we see how the future holds for this.”
He continued: “And you know, I’ve heard about the speculation in the news like everybody else. I don’t have any details about any of the reports that have come out. But you know, what I can say is that We have Messi as an ambassador for tourism in the Kingdom with the Ministry of Tourism – and that is a lot of benefit.
“In terms of tourism for the kingdom, if they can, I would like to see them both play in the Saudi league, and, you know, if top players come to the Saudi league and play that will strengthen the programs that we.” Do.”
Avram Glazer confronted on Man Utd sale and Ronaldo
Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer has spoken for the first time since announcing the club could be up for sale.
Heaven news followed him near his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he was asked why now is the right time to sell the club.
He said: “As we announced yesterday, the board has gone through a process and decided that it will look at different strategic alternatives – and that is what we are doing.”
He repeated that answer when asked why the club had not been sold earlier, adding: “We’ll see where it takes us.”
The Glazers are reportedly furious at Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarks in his latest interview and Ronaldo this week left United by mutual consent.
But Abraham Glazer refused to subscribe to the striker’s claim – echoed by many fans – that his family “doesn’t care about the club”.
He told Sky News: “Well, I’ll tell you about Cristiano Ronaldo – he’s a great Manchester United player, I appreciate everything he’s done for the club and I wish him the best of luck in the future.”