Saudi Arabian clubs will not give up trying to lure Cristiano Ronaldo to their league, according to the country’s Football Association president.
The Portuguese star, 37, made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United and join a club playing in the Champions League this season.
However, despite tentative interest from the likes of Chelsea and Napoli, the only concrete offers that came in for Ronaldo were from Saudi Pro League clubs Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr.
One such offer was described as ‘obscene’, reflecting the enormous wealth both in the country and its leading football league.
But Yasser Al-Misehal, the president of the Saudi Arabian FA, believes that efforts to bring Ronaldo to the league won’t stop there.
‘We would love to see a player like Cristiano Ronaldo playing in the Saudi League,’ he told The Athletic.
‘It would bring a huge positive feedback and it would be big news for everyone. I’m sure everyone knows the achievements and records of Cristiano Ronaldo, but also as a player who is a great role model.
‘I think, “Why not?”. I’m sure it would be a very expensive deal, of course, but we can see our clubs getting higher revenues in the past couple of years.
‘We have already see some big players who used to play in the Premier League come to the Saudi League.
‘I like Cristiano Ronaldo as a player and I would like to see him play in Saudi Arabia.’
Ronaldo has started just one of United’s opening six Premier League fixtures this season as Erik ten Hag seeks ways forward without a player who scored 24 times for the club last season.
He was unable to make much impact when Ten Hag started him in Thursday’s opening UEFA Europa League fixture at home to Real Sociedad, which United lost 1-0.
Asked whether he expected a Saudi club to make an offer for Ronaldo in the January window, Al-Misehal added: ‘To be honest, I don’t have the answer.
‘If I was the president of a club, I could give you the answer. But my colleagues at the clubs don’t have to share their negotiations with me.
‘It wouldn’t be an easy transaction for a Saudi club or even for him, but we would love to see him or even some other top players of the same level.’