Over the past few weeks, the Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has joined Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr on a two-year contract. According to reports, Ronaldo will receive £177 million-a-year through 2025 as part of the deal.
Ronaldo moved to live in Saudi Arabia along with his supermodel and his girlfriend, Georgina Rodríguez. But the big question on many people’s mind is, will they be allowed to share a home in Saudi Arabia despite the Kingdom’s laws which forbid unmarried couples from living together?
Media reports quoted Saudi legal experts as confirming that the Saudi authorities will “turn a blind eye” to accommodate for one of the greatest football players of all time, allowing him and his partner to settle into their first luxury property together.
One of the Saudi lawyers stated that authorities are unlikely to take any legal action against the legendary player.
“The Saudi Arabian authorities, today, do not interfere in this matter [in the case of foreigners], but the law continues to prohibit cohabitation outside of marriage”, another added.
The Portuguese football star has indicated that he does plan to marry the model, although there is no date set.
“I’m not thinking about it now, but I can see in the future that I think I deserve it, she deserves it,” Cristiano said in an interview with TalkTV’s Piers Morgan in November. “But it’s something that’s not in my plans now, but in the future I do want to.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has earlier denied reports from Spain that he has accepted an offer to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, expressing hope to conclude his career at the European Champions League. However, he later accepted the Saudi deal and therefore being involved in Saudi sportwash policy.
Sportswashing is a term used to describe corrupt or authoritarian regimes who use sport and sports events to whitewash their image internationally. Saudi Arabia has long been accused of using sport to whitewash its poor human rights record at home and abroad, most recently was superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s deal to join state-owned Saudi football club Al Nassr FC.
Since being in office, MBS has increasingly used sport events to whitewash his poor human rights record, especially after the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing in the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018.
MBS has displayed a ruthless ambition to force his way to the very top of the political tree, silencing rivals and opponents from across the spectrum since his meteoric rise began in 2015.