Cristiano Ronaldo: The sheikh puppet in Saudi Arabia

Beckenbauer and Pelé once improved their pension fund in New York. Both could use the dollars Cosmos football club gave the aging superstars for a bit of glamor in their cabin. Gerd Müller scored his last goals in Florida. He also needed the money, and what could be said against a bit of the Sunshine State at an advanced age. Was granted to all of them.

Now Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7. Five times world footballer. 819 goals in 1144 games. One of the best players to ever kick the ball. But also the biggest rooster in modern football. A show of muscle and cheap wealth. A player whose fitness, bounce and accuracy you have to marvel at to this day.

Ronaldo and winning the football lottery

No big club wanted to have this CR7 anymore because his performance at the age of 37 is no longer enough and fluffing it up is no longer enough. The young have long been better, even if the old man still thinks he is the tallest, the prettiest, the fastest. All past. But where is the peacock supposed to beat its wheels? Cosmos New York, that football retiree’s paradise, no longer exists. But there would certainly have been something for CR7 in Major League Soccer, perhaps with colleague Beckham, the once similarly dazzling football beau from the United Kingdom who now leads Inter Miami as an investor.

But CR7 goes to Saudi Arabia. To the first division club Al-Nassr. Financially, he has hit the big time, winning the six with an additional payment in the football lottery. Congratulations, that’s all I can say. Morally, however, this is a declaration of bankruptcy. CR7 rakes in $400 million for two and a half years, they say, plus $100 million in hand. After that, an ambassadorial contract for the Saudis beckons.

CR7 then becomes an influencer tasked with helping convince the world that the Saudis, that sympathetic little Gulf state that executed 81 people in a single day last year and ranks at the bottom of every global democracy index , is exactly the right place to host the 2030 World Cup. CR7 as a rinse aid in a large-scale sports wash.

Now you might say CR7 as a sheikh puppet, that’s not really nice, but you can’t compare that to CR7’s footballing achievements. I disagree. CR7, like all professional footballers, has always been an object of purchase per se, has now sold itself once and for all. For many hundreds of millions of dollars. What will be remembered of him is a lot of money and a once great player. The rest – decency, dignity, respect – he traded with the sheikh.


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