Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC on August 22, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Ash Donelon | United | Getty Images
Saudi Arabia says it wants its investors to take over Manchester United and Liverpool – and hopes Cristiano Ronaldo comes to play 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 already owning Newcastle and now funding a breakaway golf series.
It’s the availability of United – after the Glazers announced plans for a potential sale – and Ronaldo that Prince Abdulaziz is interested in.
He would like Ronaldo to sign for a Saudi Pro League side after the World Cup, with the 37-year-old a free agent after a difficult start this week from United.
“Who wouldn’t want him to play in his league? Prince Abdulaziz said Sky News. “He’s a role model for a lot of young players – him and Messi.”
Sky Sports News understand Saudi club Al-Hilal are exploring a deal to sign Ronaldo.
The vision would see the Saudi league with Ronaldo and Messi, who is still signed up at Paris Saint-Germain but is already signed up to promote Saudi Arabia.
“It has benefited a lot in terms of tourism for the kingdom,” Prince Abdulaziz said. “If they can, I would like to see them both play in the Saudi league.”
Newcastle was bought by the Saudis last year through the Public Investment Fund, which the Premier League says is not controlled by the government despite being headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Now two more Premier League clubs are on the market – Liverpool and United – and the sports minister wants one or the other – or both – to belong to Saudi Arabia.
“I hope so, if there are investors and the numbers add up, and it makes a good deal,” he said. “Then the private sector could come, or companies could come from the kingdom.”
He added: “The Premier League is the best league in the world. Everyone watches the Premier League. It’s the most watched league and there are die-hard fans of these teams in the kingdom. So that would be an advantage. for everyone.”
“I can say 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’re seeing how the future holds up against that.”
He continued, “And you know, I’ve heard about this speculation in the news like, like everyone else. I don’t have any details on any of the reports that have come out. But you know, what I can say is that we have Messi as an ambassador for tourism in the kingdom with the ministry of tourism – and it has benefited a lot.
“In terms of tourism for the kingdom, if they can, I’d like to see them both play in the Saudi league, and, you know, if the best players come into the Saudi league and play, that will strengthen the programs. what we’re doing.”
Avram Glazer faced with the sale of Man Utd and Ronaldo
Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer has spoken for the first time since it was announced the club could be put up for sale.
Sky News tracked him down near his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, where he was asked why it was the right time to sell the club.
He said: “As we announced yesterday, the board went through a process and decided they were going to look at different strategic alternatives – and that’s what we are doing.”
He repeated the answer when asked why the club hadn’t been sold sooner and added: “We’ll see where it takes us.”
The Glazers were reportedly furious at Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarks in his recent interview and Ronaldo this week left United by mutual consent.
Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo walks onto the pitch during a Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC on August 22, 2022 in Manchester, England.
Ash Donelon | United | Getty Images
But Avram Glazer refused to be drawn in by the striker’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’s done for the club and wish him the best of luck. for the future.”
How everything changed in 16 days…
November 8: Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group say they are “open to investors” to come and help the club – to which they remain “fully committed”. Reports had previously claimed that FSG were open to selling the club.
November 11th: Liverpool announce that manager Mike Gordon, who is the chairman of FSG, is stepping down from his role amid reports of a club sale.
November 13: The explosive interview of Cristiano Ronaldo with Talk TV is announced, in which he notably criticizes Manchester United, the Glazer family and manager Erik ten Hag.
November 17: The second part of Ronaldo’s interview airs, in which he claims the Glazers ‘don’t care’ about United.
November 22, 5:30 p.m.: After taking legal advice, 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 exit was confirmed, Sky News announces that the Glazer family are ready to sell Manchester United.
November 22, 9:30 p.m.: Two hours later, Manchester United released a statement revealing that the Glazers were prepared to identify “strategic alternatives…including new investment in the club, sale or other transactions involving the business”.
November 23: Reports in the UK claim British billionaire and longtime Manchester United fan Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who has previously expressed an interest in taking over at Old Trafford, will enter the auction race to buy United.
November 24: Liverpool announce that sporting director Julian Ward, who only replaced Michael Edwards a year ago, is set to leave the club at the end of the season. Research director Ian Graham is also to step down from his role.
November 24: Saudi Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has revealed to Sky News his country’s ambition to take control of Manchester United and Liverpool.