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Cristiano Ronaldo move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr to prompt a new era in Asian football

Cristiano Ronaldo move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr to prompt a new era in Asian football
January 4, 2023

The arrival of football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo at Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr has been predicted as being a game changer for the game in Asia.

With Al-Nassr announcing the signing of one of the world’s biggest sports stars last Friday, his arrival at the club is likely to prompt a massive boost in merchandise sales, for the profile of the Saudi Professional League and in interest across the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Following the annoucement of Ronaldo's signing, the post from the Riyadh-based club was viewed more than 20 million times and the club gained about 2.5 million more followers within 24 hours.

There was a similar surge on Instagram, where the Portuguese star has more than 520 million followers, the most in the world. There, the announcement received more than 30 million likes.

Subsequently, the club has seen a near ten-fold increase in its number of Instagram followers. Before Ronaldo signed, Al-Nassr had around 850,000 followers, at the time of writing this number has rocketed to more than 8 million and is increasing by the hour.

Merchandise sales for Ronaldo's Al-Nassr shirt have already generated massive income for the a nine-time Saudi Arabian champion, with other merchandise sales also expected to grow.

While unveiling the player on Tuesday evening, Al-Nassr President Musalli Al-Muammar advised “this agreement is more than writing a new historical chapter."

With Al-Nassr currently top of the Saudi Professional League, on the field the club aspire to Ronaldo helping them to secure their first AFC Champions League title.

Al Nassr's new coach Rudy Garcia commented "the signing of a player the size of Cristiano Ronaldo is extraordinary, and contributes to the development of Saudi football.

"We are happy with his arrival. The first goal is to work so he can adapt to our team, to enjoy playing for Al Nassr, and to entertain the fans.”

He will earn US$214 million per year in a contract that will run until June 2025 - the highest salary ever paid to a professional footballer and will include off-field promotional activity as well as playing arrangements.

Among related developments, the Arabian Business publication is to appoint a full time dedicated Ronaldo correspondent.

Image: Cristiano Ronaldo inspects his new Al-Nassr kit. Credit: Al-Nassr.

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