On his arrival at his new club Al Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo praised Saudi Arabia, calling it a “wonderful country.” Amnesty International has urged the former Manchester United player to utilise his fame to highlight the kingdom’s “appalling” human rights record.
The 37-year-old arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday after reportedly signing a £177 million a year contract until 2025, making him the highest-paid footballer in history.
Upon signing for Al Nassr, Ronaldo stated:
“Al Nassr’s signing of Cristiano Ronaldo fits into a wider pattern of sportswashing in Saudi Arabia. It is highly likely that the Saudi authorities will promote Ronaldo’s presence in the country as a means of distracting from the country’s appalling human rights record.” said Amnesty’s Middle East researcher Dana Ahmed.
“Instead of offering uncritical praise of Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo should use his considerable public platform to draw attention to human rights issues in the country. Saudi Arabia regularly executes people for crimes including murder, rape and drug smuggling.
She added, “Cristiano Ronaldo shouldn’t allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi sportswashing – he should use his time at Al Nassr to speak out about the myriad human rights issues in the country.”
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