Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC on February 27th 22, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Ash Donelon | Manchester United | Getty Images
Saudi Arabia says it wants its investors to take over Manchester United and Liverpool – and hopes Cristiano Ronaldo plays in its domestic league.
Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed the country’s latest sporting ambitions in an interview with Sky news – with the sovereign wealth fund, which already owns Newcastle and is now funding a breakaway golf series.
It’s the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a possible sale – and Ronaldo that makes Prince Abdulaziz interesting.
He would be keen for Ronaldo to sign for a Saudi pro-league team after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent following a difficult departure from United this week.
“Who wouldn’t want to play in their league?” Customs of Prince Abdulaziz Sky news. “He is a role model for many young players – for him and for Messi.”
Sky sports news Roger that Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal are considering a deal to sign Ronaldo.
The vision sees the Saudi league featuring both Ronaldo and Messi, who is still signed to Paris Saint-Germain but already signed to promote Saudi Arabia.
“This has helped the kingdom a lot in terms of tourism,” said Prince Abdulaziz. “If they can, I would love to see them both play in the Saudi league.”
Newcastle were bought by the Saudis last year via the Public Investment Fund, which the Premier League claims is not controlled by the government despite being run by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now there are two more Premier League clubs on the market – Liverpool and United – and the Sport Secretary wants one – or both – to fall under Saudi ownership.
“I hope so if there are investors and the numbers are right and it does a good deal,” he said. “Then the private sector or companies from the UK could come in.”
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 die-hard fans of these teams in the kingdom. So it would be a win for everyone.”
“I can say that we have a strong league. It’s not one of the strongest in Asia. You know, we’re building towards a better future. And we will see how the future holds for that.”
He continued: “And you know, like everyone else, I’ve heard about this speculation on the news. I have no details on the reports that have come out. But you know, what I can say is that we have Messi as a tourism ambassador in the Kingdom at the Ministry of Tourism – and that has helped us a lot.
“In terms of tourism for the kingdom, I would like to see them both play in the Saudi league if they can, and you know, if top players come and play in the Saudi league, it will reinforce the programs, which we have. do.”
Avram Glazer faces Man Utd and Ronaldo sale
Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer has spoken for the first time since announcing the club could be up for sale.
Sky news tracked him down near his home in West Palm Beach, Fla., where he was asked why now was 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 examine various strategic alternatives – and that is what we are doing.”
When asked why the club hadn’t been sold sooner, he repeated the answer, adding: “We’ll see where that takes us.”
The Glazers were reportedly furious at Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments in his recent interview and Ronaldo left United this week by mutual consent.
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United walks during a Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC on February 8th 22, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Ash Donelon | Manchester United | Getty Images
But Avram Glazer refused to dwell on the forward’s claim – echoed by many fans – that his family “don’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 has done for the club and I wish him the best of luck in the future.”
How everything has changed in 16 days…
November 8th: Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group say they are “open to investors” to step in and help the club – which they remain “fully committed” to. Reports had previously claimed that FSG was ready to sell the club.
November 11th: Liverpool announce director Mike Gordon, FSG president, is stepping down from his role amid reports of a club sale.
November 13th: Cristiano Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with TalkTV announced in which he criticized Manchester United, the Glazer family and manager Erik ten Hag, among others.
November 17: The second part of Ronaldo’s interview is aired in which he claims the Glazers ‘don’t care’ about United.
November 22, 5:30 p.m.: After legal deliberation, Manchester United announce they have terminated Ronaldo’s contract at United by mutual consent, with the 37-year-old becoming a free agent.
November 22, 7:30 p.m.: Two hours after Ronaldo’s departure was confirmed, Sky News broke the story that the Glazer family was ready to sell Manchester United.
November 22, 9:30 p.m.: Two hours later, Manchester United released a statement showing the Glazers are open to identifying “strategic alternatives… including new investments in the club, a sale or other transactions involving the company”.
November 23: According to reports in the UK, British billionaire and lifelong Manchester United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who previously expressed interest in acquiring Old Trafford, will join the bidding race to buy United.
November 24th: Liverpool announce sporting director Julian Ward, who replaced Michael Edwards in that role just a year ago, will leave the club at the end of the season. Research leader Ian Graham is also two steps away from his role.
November 24th: Saudi Arabia’s Sport Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal revealed to Sky News his country’s ambitions to take over both Manchester United and Liverpool.