- Farooq Chauthia and Joseph Winter
- BBC News
Football star Cristiano Ronaldo misspelled the name of Saudi Arabia while speaking at his first press conference in his host country after his multimillion-dollar transfer to Al-Nasr Club.
As he sat in front of a background with a welcome phrase written on it to come to Saudi Arabia, the Portuguese star said in a serious voice, “It is not the end of my career to come to South Africa.”
Although Saudi officials were likely unhappy, they did not seek to correct Ronaldo at Tuesday’s press conference.
It did not seem that he bothered his new Saudi fans, who received him warmly when he appeared wearing the Al-Nasr team uniform, in its yellow and blue colors.
In this context, a Twitter user said in a tweet, “You don’t need to know the name of the country to earn 200 million euros… Anyway, welcome to South Africa, Ronaldo.”
His annual salary, which is reported to be $200 million, is believed to make him the highest-paid footballer in the world.
Although it was an obvious slip of the tongue, it didn’t stop some South African football fans from dreaming of seeing one of the world’s most famous stars play for their home teams.
The South African Tourism Authority still hopes that Ronaldo will appear at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was built in the coastal city of Durban before the World Cup that the country hosted in 2010.
A South African news site described it as an “amazing stutter”, while football editor Jonty Mark commented: “Saudi Arabia and South Africa may have the same first letter at the beginning of every part of their name (in English), but it’s still It is more than strange that Ronaldo could not choose the right country for his first press conference.
However, most of the tweeters in the Arab world ignored Ronaldo’s slip, as an Arabic user commented, saying: “There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone makes mistakes.”
Al-Nasr Club did not seem very upset, as it stated in a tweet on its Twitter account: “Everyone is happy today.”
As for Ronaldo, he is looking forward to his new life in the oil-rich kingdom.
“In Europe, my job is done. I won everything. I played for the most important clubs in Europe. Now this is a new challenge for me,” he said.