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Cristiano Ronaldo told he must address Saudi Arabia human rights issues after 'sportswashing' Al Nassr transfer

Cristiano Ronaldo told he must address Saudi Arabia human rights issues after 'sportswashing' Al Nassr transfer

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner completed his transfer on Tuesday.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been told to discuss Saudi Arabia's human rights issues after completing a move to Al Nassr.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner put pen to paper on a mega-money deal last week before being unveiled at Mrsool Park on Tuesday.

Ronaldo admitted his work in Europe was 'done' during his first press conference as an Al Nassr player. He outlined his wish to change the perception of football within Saudi Arabia, including the youth and women's games.

Amnesty International believe the 37-year-old's transfer is part of a 'wider pattern of sportswashing' within the country.

Recent years have seen Saudi Arabia establish itself as a powerhouse when it comes to sporting events.

The country has hosted high-profile boxing matches, LIV Golf tours as well as a Formula One Grand Prix.

Saudi Arabia also signed a decade-long deal with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2020 to host shows in the Middle East two times a year.

In addition to that, Saudi Arabia is interested in co-hosting the 2030 World Cup alongside Greece and Egypt. That's a bid Ronaldo is expected to become an ambassador for, although there is no official confirmation.

Ronaldo during his unveiling on Tuesday. (Image
Alamy)

Amnesty’s Middle East researcher, Dana Ahmed, believes an athlete of Ronaldo's profile should use his platform to speak about the 'myriad of human rights issues' in Saudi Arabia.

He said per Football365: "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. 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.

Ronaldo signs his contract while sat with Al Nassr president Mossali Al-Muammar. (Image
Alamy)

"Cristiano Ronaldo should not allow his fame and celebrity status to become a tool of Saudi’s sportswashing. He should use his time at Al Nassr to speak out about the myriad of human rights issues in the country."

Ronaldo had hoped to make his debut for the club in Thursday afternoon's Saudi Pro League clash with Al Ta'ee.

The game is sold out, with over 28,000 expected to be inside the stadium. They likely won't get to see Ronaldo in action, though.

He's yet to serve a two-match ban he received during his time at Manchester United. Ronaldo knocked a phone out of an Everton supporter's hand following a 1-0 defeat to Goodison Park back in April.

SPORTbible have reached out to the FA to confirm whether Ronaldo is banned from making his debut for Al Nassr.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Al Nassr