One of the world’s most well-known soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo Saudi Arabia where he was greeted with great fanfare, including children wearing the yellow and blue jerseys of his new club. Saudi Arabia, an oil-rich country, has successfully attracted the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to play for its Al Nassr FC team on a two-year contract, as part of its ongoing effort to achieve its sports-related goals, even at a high cost.

According to Saudi state-run media, Ronaldo will be the highest-paid soccer player in the world, earning an estimated $200 million per year with Al Nassr. The club’s Instagram page gained over 5.3 million new followers after the signing, and its official website crashed due to a surge in traffic. The hashtag #HalaRonaldo – Hello Ronaldo in Arabic – was trending for days on Twitter throughout the Middle East. Analysts suggest that Ronaldo’s signing is part of a broader strategy by Saudi Arabia to diversify its revenue streams and establish itself as a major player in international sports.

Cristiano Ronaldo Saudi Arabia achievements?

Cristiano Ronaldo has made his mark in the Saudi Pro League by scoring four goals for Al-Nassr in a match against Al-Wehda, achieving a remarkable personal milestone. The 38-year-old had only scored one goal in his first three competitive appearances for the club, which he joined in December, but he showed his class in the match, scoring in the 21st, 40th, 53rd, and 61st minutes. He reached and surpassed a significant milestone of scoring 500 career league goals during the match.

Ronaldo’s first goal was a powerful left-footed finish across the goalkeeper, and he showed his poacher’s instincts to score his second, racing in-behind to latch onto a through-ball and finish under Abdulquddus Atiah. He made no mistake from the penalty spot to score his third, and his fourth came just after the hour mark. He reached the milestone of 503 league goals when the goalkeeper could only paw his tame shot back into his path, and he slid the ball into the empty net. Ronaldo’s goals helped Al-Nassr secure a much-needed victory as they push for another league title.

Ronaldo’s 503 career league goals include three goals in the Primeira Liga for Sporting Lisbon, 84 goals in the Premier League during his first stint at Manchester United, and 311 goals in 292 La Liga games for Real Madrid. He was almost as prolific for Juventus, scoring 81 Serie A goals in 98 appearances for the Turin giants before returning to Manchester United in 2021. Ronaldo has scored five goals in his first three Saudi Pro League appearances, and his overall tally of 503 goals places him behind only Pele, Romario, Josef Bican, and Ferenc Puskas on the list of all-time league goal scorers.

Increased tourism?

While no official figures have been released, Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing with Al Nassr is expected to have a positive impact on Saudi Arabia’s tourism industry. As one of the most famous football stars in the world, Ronaldo’s presence in the kingdom is likely to draw the attention of soccer fans from around the globe. Additionally, the significant media coverage and social media buzz surrounding his signing and his subsequent performance with the team can help showcase Saudi Arabia’s rich culture, tourist attractions, and vibrant cities to the world. Overall, Ronaldo’s decision to play for Al Nassr could significantly boost the country’s profile as a destination for sports tourism and help promote its national agenda of economic diversification through tourism.

Image Credit: AP photo/Amr Nabil

The female soccer team representing the nation of Saudi Arabia has achieved a historic milestone by winning the championship of a tournament featuring itself, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros, held in the Kingdom.

On Thursday night, Saudi Arabia ended the Women’s International Friendly Tournament with a 1-1 tie against Pakistan, earning them 7 points and the top spot on the standings.

Al Bandary Mubarak put Saudi Arabia ahead with a goal in the first period, which was preceded by Mariam Al Tamimi’s penalty shot leading to a 1-0 victory over Mauritius and Noura Ibrahim and Dalia Adel’s strikes for a 2-0 triumph against the Comoros. Pakistan ended up in second place with 4 points, the Comoros and Mauritius shared the third spot with 3 points each.

The Saudi Arabia women’s national football team secured its first-ever trophy after emerging victorious in a four-team tournament held in the Kingdom which included the hosts, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros.

Sarah Khalid from Saudi Arabia earned the award for best goalkeeper, having only allowed one goal through the duration of the competition. Maria Jamila Khan from Pakistan was named the tournament’s best player, and Onalaya Ali from Comoros was the top scorer.

The tournament was also a point of pride for Anoud al-Asmari, who had the honor of officiating her first match as a FIFA referee. This was another first for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At the start of 2023, Al-Asmari was assigned to the FIFA roster and is the first Saudi female referee to be honored with a FIFA badge of distinction.

Thursday’s memorable occasion signifies another chapter in the progression of women’s sports in Saudi Arabia.

For the first time, the Prince Saud bin Jalawi Stadium in the Eastern Province was the venue for a women’s international 11-a-side tournament.

At the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, supervisor of the Women’s Football Department and board member Lamia Bahaian expressed her joy, remarking: “We are all ecstatic over this momentous day in Saudi Arabian football. Our congratulations go out to the talented players in the women’s national team, as well as all the management, coaching and staff members who made this accomplishment possible. We are all filled with pride.”

The triumph of this tourney will motivate a lot of young females throughout the Kingdom to partake in soccer and experience all the merriment that the beautiful game brings.

Saudi Arabia will host its first-ever international women’s football league tournament this week as Saudi attempts to change its reputation as an authoritarian state where women have few rights.

The nine-day tournament will bring the national women’s league teams of Pakistan, Comoros and Mauritius to Saudi Arabia. The matches will also be officiated by Anoud al-Asmari, who became the first Saudi woman to be accredited as an international referee by FIFA only last week.

Saudi women’s football league or Sports washing?

Saudi Arabia is trying to become a global hub for hosting sporting events, having already hosted Formula One. The country’s leaders have also expressed their desire to host the Olympics and World Cup in the hopes of restoring the kingdom’s reputation.

However, despite these attempts human rights groups and critics have accused the nation of “sports washing” its human rights record. By hosting these events, Saudi Arabia is able to showcase its modernity and progress to the world, while also promoting the country as a destination for tourism and investment.

Critics argue that this “sport-washing” is an attempt to distract from the country’s human rights abuses and lack of political freedoms, as well as to present a more positive image to the international community. Additionally, it’s also been argued that the rights of the workers involved in the construction of the venues for these events have been violated.

Saudi Arabia’s shocking defeat of Argentina during the World Cup group stage by the country’s men’s team sent people across the Arab world into a state of euphoria. Saudi’s success was quickly replicated after it was announced that Cristiano Ronaldo would be moving to Al Nassr until June 2025. Saudi women’s football league tournament will gain international media attention during the tournament.


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While addressing the press at his first Al-Nassr media event, Cristiano Ronaldo mistakenly applauded his transfer to “South Africa” instead of Saudi Arabia.

After inking a two-and-a-half-year agreement with the Al Nassr club situated in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia that is said to be worth around £177 million a year, 37-year-old Ronaldo was formally presented. Prior to being exposed to the supporters in an open practice session, he interacted with the media.

However, he accidentally said something incorrect by remarking: “For me it’s not the end of my career to come into South Africa, this is what I want to change – and to be honest I don’t really worry about what the people say.”

On Tuesday, Ronaldo finished his physical exam to finalise his shift after his disagreeable departure from Manchester United in the current year.

Ronaldo who has claimed the prestigious Ballon d’Or award a total of five times stated that he had received numerous offers from all around the world, including a number of offers from Europe – however, he was unsuccessful in locating a Champions League team that wanted to acquire him.

He expressed his delight at having taken the major decision to end his career in Europe. He mentioned that he had represented some of the most significant teams.

“I had many opportunities in Europe. Many clubs in Brazil, Australia, in the US and even Portugal. For me this is a good chance with my knowledge and experience to grow very important clubs.”


Image Credit: AP Photo/Jon Super

Between the 6th and 19th of January, Basra, located in the south of the country, will host the 25th edition of the Arabian Gulf Cup (AGC), a football tournament among Gulf Arab countries that first happened in Bahrain in 1970. This will be the first time Iraq will be the host of a major international football event since it was the venue and winner of the AGC in 1979.

Eight squads from different parts of the region, namely Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen, will take part in the competition. The games will be held at Basra International Stadium and Al-Minaa Olympic Stadium, which can accommodate 65,000 and 30,000 spectators respectively.

After Iraq was prohibited from participating in the tournament from 1990 to 2004 due to its 1990 invasion of Kuwait, this year’s edition marks a significant return for the country. In November 2019, the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation declared Basra, Iraq as the host city, demonstrating Iraq’s reemergence as a relevant player in the region.

The organization of this tournament is a sign of Iraq’s improved relations with other Arab countries and Gulf states that were previously far apart. It is Baghdad’s way of showing that Iraq is now secure, steady and welcoming to visitors.

Organizers have taken extra steps to make sure that it is easier for supporters to attend matches. This year’s AGC is said to be the most attended in the event’s history. They established an online ticket service and sold tickets directly at retail stores, with prices between 10 and 30 USD for two matches, which caused a huge surge in ticket requests.

Although ahead of the tournament, there have been allegations of mishandling ticket sales, unpopular attempts by authorities to cordon off informal settlements and calls by Islamists to ban singing and dancing.

Additionally, after Iraq launched online ticket sales in four categories, with prices ranging from $10 to $30 last month, many fans say tickets are still out of reach at the official price, with thousands having been channelled to the black market. Some say prices hit as much as $300 to $400 for VIP seats for the opening ceremony.


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