Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly turned down a massive offer from Saudi Arabia to be the face of their latest tourism drive.
According to The Telegraph the Portuguese sensation, who became football’s all-time leading goalscorer in official games with his 760th strike last week, was offered a deal valued at around $7 million a-year.
Whilst Ronaldo is reported to have rejected the offer, it is claimed Lionel Messi has also been approached, though representatives for Messi told The Telegraph they do not comment on commercial projects.
Both superstars have lucrative endorsement deals with some of the world’s biggest brands including: Adidas, Pepsi, Huawei, Electronic Arts and Nike, to name a few.
As two of the most marketable individuals on the planet with 11 Ballon d’Ors between them, it comes as no surprise they’re being courted by the Saudis for ‘Visit Saudi’, a campaign to establish Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s leading tourist destinations.
But the country has been mired in controversy since the Jamal Khashoggi killing, and more recently due its contentious human rights record. According to some endorsing Saudi Arabia and by extension the Saudi regime would leave those involved open to much criticism.
Amnesty International criticised Formula One after it recently agreed to host a Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia. Last year, efforts by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) to acquire 80% of Newcastle United were blocked by the Premier League.