Saudi Arabia’s Sports Minister has claimed he would ‘love’ to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in the nation’s domestic football league.
The 37-year-old forward said, last week, that he had been offered a two-year contract worth an astonishing €350million (£305m) from an unnamed club – which he rejected.
After leaving Manchester United by mutual consent this week, the forward has once again become available to sign and, when asked about signing Ronaldo, Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal claimed that ‘anything is possible’.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Abdulaziz says he’d ‘love’ to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in their league
The Portugal forward has been subject to transfer interest from Saudi Arabia for a few years
Speaking to BBC Sport, Prince Abdulaziz said: ‘Anything is possible, I would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league,’ Prince Abdulaziz said.
‘It would benefit the league, the sports eco-system in Saudi and it will inspire the youth for the future. He’s a role model to a lot of kids and has a big fan base.’
Opening up for the first time in an extraordinary interview with Piers Morgan on TalkTV about a massive offer to play in Saudi Arabia, he admitted rumours of a €350m offer for two seasons were true.
On turning down the huge payday, Ronaldo said: ‘It’s hard, it’s hard. But in the same way, I thought that I was very happy here; that I still capable to score goals.
‘I still believe that I can score many, many goals and help the team because I still believe that I’m still good and capable to help national team – even Manchester United.’
However, on Tuesday, it was announced that his contract at Old Trafford had been terminated by mutual consent.
The 37-year-old is a free agent after his Man United deal was terminated by mutual consent
Aside from Ronaldo, Prince Abdulaziz also spoke on the prospects of a financial take-over at either Manchester United or Liverpool.
Both clubs have been exploring potential sales options over the past month.
‘It’s the most-watched league in Saudi and the region and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League,’ Prince Abdulaziz said.
‘From the private sector, I can’t speak on their behalf, but there is a lot of interest and appetite and there’s a lot of passion about football.
‘We will definitely support it if any [Saudi] private sector comes in, because we know that’s going to reflect positively on sports within the kingdom.’
The kingdom’s state-backed Public Investment Fund (PIF) have already made one investment; Newcastle United.
The Glazers could look to sell Manchester United in the future as they seek outside investment
Fenway Sports Group (owners John W Henry, second left, and Tom Werner, second from right) have announced they are ‘inviting offers’ to sell Liverpool in a dramatic ownership update
His comments come in the light of both Premier League club’s owners listing their respective club’s for sale this month.
At the start of November, Fenway Sports Group announced they are prepared to sell their controlling stake in Liverpool and made the first significant move in ending their 12-year ownership of the club.
United, on Tuesday night, confirmed the sensational news that they are effectively for sale in a statement issued at 9.30pm.
The Manchester club said it is designed to enhance future growth, but added that the club ‘will consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions’.
Along with the Prince Abdulaziz, US tech giant Apple have reportedly joined the race to buy Manchester United.
Former Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has also been approached by groups seeking to buy the club, asking him to act as a consultant for their potential purchase.
Any potential deal would almost certainly become the most costly acquisition of a football club in history, surpassing the £4.25billion fee a consortium led by Todd Boehly paid for Chelsea earlier this year.
UFC superstar Conor McGregor has also thrown his hat into the ring, having previously expressed an interest in taking over the club.
Ex-Manchester United chief Ed Woodward is in the frame to advise potential buyers of the club