Ronaldo and the Sports Laundering of Saudi Arabia’s Reputation – Financial Times

Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Al-Nasr club shirt

image copyright Reuters

photo comment,

Saudi Arabia is increasing its investments in sports and entertainment, and is seeking to attract other international players other than Ronaldo

The British newspaper, the Financial Times, dealt with the first appearance of Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Football League with the Al-Nasr team, in an article entitled “The first appearance of Ronaldo makes a delicate balance in Riyadh.”

The newspaper’s correspondent, Samer Al-Atroush, said in the article that Ronaldo “received a hero’s welcome, but human rights groups criticized what they called (sportswashing) the reputation of Saudi Arabia.”

The article added that Riyadh witnessed last week the first appearance of Ronaldo on Saudi stadiums in an exhibition match that included the Saudi stars team, including Ronaldo against Paris Saint-Germain, where the fans greeted the Portuguese player with a festive reception, and then also exploded when Argentine Lionel Messi appeared on the field, so that the president came out. The Kingdom’s entertainment authority, Turki Al-Sheikh, tells the fans: “I want you to light this stadium!”

The article explains that Al-Sheikh caused a state of polarization (division) of public opinion in the formerly ultra-conservative country, but many Saudi youth credit him with leading a campaign to host concerts and sports tournaments in the Kingdom. “There are 140 countries watching you. You are in a historic moment now,” he told the crowd during the Ronaldo-Messi match.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *