Saudi minister backs private bids for Cristiano Ronaldo

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Saudi minister backs private bids for Cristiano Ronaldo

Prince AbdulazizAbdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Saudi Arabia's sports minister, said his government would support any private sector bids from the country for Manchester United or Liverpool.

Prince Abdulaziz said private businesses in his country have a strong interest in English football's most successful clubs, with both instructing banks on potential investment or sale after the Saudi Public Investment Fund backed the purchase of Newcastle United last winter.

He told BBC Sport that there is a lot of interest and appetite and passion about football, even though I can't speak on their behalf. It is the most watched league in Saudi and the region, and you have a lot of fans of the Premier League. We will definitely support it if a Saudi private sector comes in, because we know that will reflect positively on sports within the kingdom. If there is an investor willing to do so and the numbers add up, why not? The prince said he wanted to see Cristiano Ronaldo play in Saudi. The 37-year-old is a free agent after leaving United by mutual agreement this week and recently stated that he turned down a two-year deal in the summer worth more than 300 m a year from a Saudi club.

Prince Abdulaziz said that he would love to see Ronaldo play in the Saudi league. It would benefit the sports eco-system in Saudi and inspire the youth for the future. He is a role model for a lot of kids and has a huge fanbase in Saudi. Ronaldo scored in Portugal's 3 -- 2 win over Ghana at the Qatar World Cup on Thursday and Saudi may make a bid to host the tournament. Who would want to host the World Cup? The prince said something. Any country in the world would love to host the World Cup. Saudi has been accused of being a victim of sportwashing to deflect criticism of its record on human rights after hosting major sporting events including boxing world title fights. Prince Abdulaziz claimed that it has been positive for his nation's people.

The numbers don't lie when you look at participation in boxing, from six gyms in 2018 to 57 gyms today. It was a shock for us, because of the 300% increase in participation, and 60% of them are women. He said that if it is making the country better and fixing a lot of social issues that we have in terms of participation, that is a benefit for us.