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“It’s Nothing”: Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo Is Only The Beginning For Saudi Arabia

Thursday’s exhibition game between Paris Saint-Germain, led by Lionel Messi, and a composite team led by Saudi Pro League newcomer Cristiano Ronaldo, which the visitors won 5-4, was marked by deafening fireworks.

In Riyadh, a matchup between two of the best football players in the world made for an entertaining spectacle.

However, Saudi Arabia, which has a lot of money, will not stop trying to improve its image through sports.

Thursday’s exhibition game between Paris Saint-Germain. Led by Lionel Messi, and a composite team led by Saudi Pro League newcomer Cristiano Ronaldo. Which the visitors won 5-4, was marked by deafening fireworks.

With VAR, flamethrowers, ticker tape, and a medal presentation in front of more than 60,000 fans. At the storied King Fahd Stadium, the friends had all the amenities of a major event.

However, the desert kingdom already has a World Cup. Summer Olympics, and possibly even Winter Olympics in its sights, in addition to a wide range of other major events.

Head of the General Entertainment Authority Turki al-sheik said, “This is a big match, but… this is nothing (compared to) what will happen with Vision 2030.” Referring to Saudi Arabia’s ambitious development plan.

Saudi Arabia is attempting to open up its conservative, long-time cloistered society to the outside world. Just five years after allowing its first non-Muslim tourists and allowing women to drive.

The world’s largest oil exporter has frequently been accused of “sports washing” its human rights record by investing hundreds of millions in sports deals like Ronaldo’s capture. Formula One in Jeddah, and the lucrative LIV Golf tour.

The Saudis will hold the men’s and women’s Asian Cup, the Asian Games of Olympic size. Even the Asian Winter Games on artificial snow in the coming years, having watched Qatar, their neighbor, host the World Cup in November and December.

All of this is a big part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand plans to modernize the Saudi economy and get rid of its reliance on oil before the world switches to other fuels.

Al-sheik said to AFP, “My leader will surprise Saudis with much more things,” referring to the crown prince.

“Just the beginning” Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Greece are talking about making a joint bid for the World Cup in 2030. Last year, the country’s sports minister told AFP that hosting the Olympics was the “ultimate goal.”

According to a source close to the club, Ronaldo’s signing by Al Nassr for more than 200 million euros and a separate 200 million deal to promote the club’s World Cup bid have been the club’s biggest successes thus far.

The sudden sale of the 37-year-old Portuguese player has sparked speculation that Messi. Who is a paid Saudi tourism ambassador but plays for Qatar-owned PSG, might join him in the Pro League.

Danyel Reiche, a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University Qatar, stated, “Ronaldo’s transfer is just the beginning.”

“We will see more superstars moving to Saudi Arabia, regardless of whether Messi will go there.”
As was the case with Qatar during the World Cup, Reiche stated that the “global spotlight” would now focus more on Saudi issues like women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and migrant workers.

But he insisted that high-profile sports are not just a way to gloss. Over human rights issues for the Gulf monarchies. “This is something that everyone notices everywhere. It’s also like saying, “Look how we’re changing” by having this game.”

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