Despite Offering Millions on Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi For Endorsement, Saudi Arabia Receives Terrible Blow

Published 10/04/2023, 2:06 PM EDT

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Not all deals in soccer give desirable solutions. But Saudi Arabia’s recent approach to soccer is much more than just signing players. The Saudi government is going all-in with its promotions, and previously expressed hopes to host a World Cup. In order to develop accordingly, they have brought in stalwarts like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Even though the Saudi Pro League is making significant strides, are their aspirations taking shape?

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The country is one of the top soccer-playing countries in Asia. However, apart from soccer, the Gulf nation boasts impressive infrastructures for other sporting and tourism activities. This is attracting many athletes. In spite of all the efforts, the nation has suffered a few disappointments, with the latest one being a big blow to their future plans.

Major blow for Saudi Arabia from FIFA

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During the World Cup in Qatar, the national team of Saudi Arabia beat Lionel Messi’s Argentina in an unexpected result. Saudi’s love story with the World Cup had just began. The kingdom is also looking to host the 2023 Club World Cup and have long expressed their desire to host the 2030 World Cup. The country’s dream of hosting the 2030 edition, however, has ended.

FIFA announced that Morocco, Spain and Portugal have been selected to host the 2030 World Cup, after the upcoming  2026 edition of the tournament in USA, Mexico and Canada. A series of permutations and combinations, in this instance, worked against the efforts of the Gulf kingdom.

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Saudi already went in with minimal expectations, considering the low chances of holding the tournament in the Middle East. Since the last World Cup was in Qatar, eight years was too short a time for it to be brought back to the region. The country was also in touch with countries like Egypt and Greece to co-host, but they opted out in June, understanding their slim chances

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Nevertheless, their investment on the domestic front continues, even if hopes of hosting the prestigious tournament has been dampened by the recent announcement of the selected hosts.

The Gulf kingdom has brought in Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for promotions

Saudi Arabia, in its pursuit of recognition, has hired the best in the world for their endorsement. The investments made are in higher millions by the government-backed entities. Notably, the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Lionel Messi is one of the prime ambassadors for Saudi tourism, with a $25 million deal. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, was brought by Al Nassr with the help of PIF and other internal firms contributing financially.

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Even though the endorsements seem to have been successful in the short term, are they worth it in the far future? Other bids for players like Kylian Mbappe and Messi to play there have failed. In the current scenario, the country seems to be going for the 2034 bid. Overall, the approach from them seems to be aggressive, but how long it would continue has to be seen.

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Written by:

Ruthu

595Articles

One take at a time

Ruthu has a deep passion for soccer, particularly for Arsenal Football Club and the legendary Lionel Messi. With a fervent interest in sports journalism, he enjoys covering soccer from around the world. Alongside his dedication to soccer, Ruthu has a professional background as a qualified Clinical Pharmacist.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra

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