The world of football was shaken this end of the year with the confirmation of the arrival of the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo Alabama al-nassr, from Saudi Arabia, where he will share a squad with Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.
Although CR7 will not be in a club from the main leagues in the world, the monstrous contract he made to reach Arabia means that the league in that country is now in the spotlight and is beginning to attract attention.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract is for three seasons, with almost 200 million euros per year (more than a billion Colombian pesos!). That money includes salary for playing, plus some advertising deals. It should be remembered that Saudi Arabia would be aspiring to host the 2030 World Cup.
This is how the history of Al Nassr began
Cristiano Ronaldo’s new club was founded in 1955 and plays in the city of Riyadh. They have won nine titles in the Saudi Arabian League: the first was obtained in the 1974-75 season and the most recent, in 2018-19. In addition, he won the Arab King’s Cup six times, the Prince’s Cup three times, the Saudi Federation Cup three times and the Saudi Super Cup twice.
The Asian Confederation Super Cup title in 1998 opened the doors for Al Nassr to play in the first edition of the Club World Cup, in 2000. They were left out in the first phase, with a victory against Raja Casablanca, from Morocco (4- 3) and defeats against Real Madrid (3-1) and Corinthians (2-0).
Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a sheikh of just 37 years old, is the owner of Al Nassr. He is also the current prime minister of Saudi Arabia and the heir to the throne of his country. His fortune is estimated at around 320 million euros. So money to pay Cristiano Ronaldo is not lacking.
It is not his only investment in football: last year, through a public investment fund, he bought Newcastle United, the team where Faustino Asprilla knew how to shine in the 1990s. He paid 320 million euros to keep the 80 percent of the club’s shares, something that was loudly celebrated by the team’s fans.
The owner of Al Nassr has received questions. He has been accused of being the intellectual author of the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, dismembered in the Istanbul consulate, according to intelligence reports, by Saudi agents.
Al Nassr plays at home in a small stadium: Mrsool Park, built in 2011 and located inside King Saud University, has a capacity for only 25,000 spectators. In September 2020, it began to use that stage, which originally belonged to another of the greats of Saudi Arabia, Al Hilal.
The Colombians who went through Al Nassr
David Ospina is not the first Colombian to pass through their ranks. Francisco Maturana He was the team’s coach between 2011 and 2012 and René Higuita He was there as a goalkeeper coach, in addition to having been manager in charge in 2016.
In addition to Ospina, Al Nassr has three other South American players: Argentine Gonzalo ‘Pity’ Martínez, one of River Plate’s heroes in the 2018 Copa Libertadores final against Boca in Madrid, and Brazilians Luiz Gustavo and Talisca. In addition, it has the Spanish Álvaro González and the Cameroonian Vincent Aboubakar, who has just played in the World Cup in Qatar.
Al Nassr’s plan would go much bigger and even press releases this week assured that they also had Spanish defender Sergio Ramos in their plans. But the hiring of Cristiano, in itself, is already a huge call for attention for the European summer transfer market.
With information from O’Globo (Brazil, GDA)