The Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly rejected a $6 million annual deal to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia. Ronaldo rejected the offer that would see his image be used on promotional material for Saudi tourism. The deal also entailed having Cristiano Ronaldo visit the Gulf country once a week.
Saudi Arabia has also approached Barcelona’s legend Lionel Messi for the same deal. The Barcelona star’s position on the Saudi proposal is not yet known.
The Saudi offer is in line with the country’s vision to strengthen tourism as part of its 2030 strategy. The vision’s goal is to boost the Saudi economy and improve the kingdom’s international image.
The Gulf country often receives criticism due to harsh sentences against activists and executions. Activists and the international community also lashed out at Saudi Arabia after the murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
This is not the first time that Saudi Arabia has seen an offer be rejected by a celebrity. In 2019, renowned rapper Nicki Minaj cancelled her performance from the Jeddah Word Festival in Saudi Arabia.