KSA would 'definitely support' Man Utd, Liverpool private sector bids
Saudi Arabia's Sports Minister says he would "love" to see Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo play for a Saudi club.
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's Sports Minister, pointed out that Riyadh would support any Saudi private sector bids to take over Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool.
The Glazer family, Manchester United's owners, are considering selling the club as they consider "strategic alternatives."
"It's the most-watched league in Saudi and the region, and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League," bin Turki told the BBC.
According to the Sports Minister, the Saudi government "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."
"But if there's an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not?"
It is noteworthy that Premier League side Newcastle United is 80%-owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Amnesty International had condemned the Premier League's decision to give the green light to the takeover, accusing Saudi Arabia of using its involvement in English football to "sportswash" its poor human rights record.
Read more: 2021 Roundup: Sportswashing human rights violations
Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia?
In a related context, bin Turki said he would "love" to see Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo play for a Saudi club after his departure from Manchester United.
"Anything is possible, I would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league," he expressed, indicating that the move "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 fanbase in Saudi."
During an interview for TalkTV, Ronaldo revealed that he had turned down a £305m deal to join a Saudi club in the summer -- a move that would have made him the highest-paid footballer in the world.
Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Al-Hilal had offered the Portuguese a two-year deal.