The five-time Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo has been urged by Amnesty International to speak about the abuse of human rights in Saudi Arabia following his mind-blowing move to Al-Nassr.
The 37-year-old Portugal skipper signed a two-year and 6-month deal with the Saudi Arabian club, declaring openly at his unveiling that his work is done in Europe.
Saudi Arabia is widely praised for investing heavily in sports tournaments, financing the breakaway LIV Golf series, hosting world title, boxing combats, and a Formula One grand prize.
Saudi Arabia is also reported to be interested in co-hosting the men’s football World Cup in 2030.
The country’s Public Investment Fund also financed a takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United in 2021.
Regardless, Saudi Arabia has been accused of several human rights cases of abuse on many occasions.
Some women’s rights campaigners have been allegedly been jailed under crown prince Mohammed bin Salman despite some reforms like an end to the ban on women driving.
Western Intelligence Agencies’ investigation revealed that the crown prince ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 which he denied.
It’s in this respect that Amnesty International urged Cristiano Ronaldo to use his platform to speak about human rights issues in Saudi Arabia.
Ronaldo, who has signed a lucrative contract worth more than £177m per year with the Saudi club Al Nassr, has been charged to use his considerable public platform to draw attention to human rights issues in the country.
Dana Ahmed, Amnesty’s Middle East researcher, said: “Instead of offering uncritical praise of Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo should use his substantial public forum to draw attention to human rights issues in the country.”
“Saudi Arabia regularly executes people for crimes including murder, rape, and drug smuggling. On a single day last year, 81 people were put to death, many of whom were tried in grossly unfair trials.”
“The authorities are also continuing their crackdown on freedom of expression and association, with heavy prison sentences handed down to human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, and other political activists.”
Amnesty International has charged the Portuguese legendary forward to use his influence as an admired footballer and a lover of world peace to condemn the massacres arising in the country.
The statement further read: “Cristiano Ronaldo should not allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi’s sports washing. He should use his time at Al Nassr to speak out about the myriad of human rights issues in the country.”
The 37-year-old Portuguese captain was a constant detester of crime and corruption which is evident when he exposed the wrongdoings of owners of Manchester United in his explosive interview with Piers Morgan.
In his unveiling ceremony at the Saudi Arabia club on Tuesday, the five-time Ballon d’Or holder has vowed to help develop the country in other areas aside from football.
Ronaldo said: “This contract is unique but I’m a unique player, so for me it’s normal.”
“I gave my word to this club to develop not only the football but other parts of this amazing country.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Ronaldo would agree to meddle in the political affairs of the country.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary at Al Nassr is reportedly worth around £200 million per year, including bonuses.