South Africa or Saudi Arabia? Cristiano Ronaldo slips up at Al-Nassr unveiling

South Africa or Saudi Arabia? Cristiano Ronaldo slips up at Al-Nassr unveiling
Cristiano Ronaldo slipped up during his inaugural press conference at Al-Nassr, saying he had come to 'South Africa' instead of Saudi Arabia.
2 min read
04 January, 2023
Ronaldo made the slip-up during his unveiling at Al-Nassr in Riyadh [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo had a slip of the tongue during his unveiling on Tuesday at Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia, saying he had come to "South Africa" to play football. 

"For me, it’s not the end of my career to come to South Africa," he said at a press conference when talking about the evolution of football and the reasons behind his move to the kingdom. 

Ronaldo made the blockbuster move from Manchester United to nine-time Saudi Pro League champions Al-Nassr on Saturday.

He has signed a mammoth contract where he will earn £173 million per year until 2025 - making him the highest-paid footballer in the world. 

The 37-year-old said he had offers from several other clubs before eventually settling on Al-Nassr.

"I won everything, I played for the most important clubs in Europe and now it is a new challenge in Asia," he said. 

Ronaldo’s move is momentous for the kingdom and the region, and Dubai-based weekly magazine Arabian Business is searching for a 'Ronaldo Correspondent' to report on every aspect of his life. 

"Ronaldo is the biggest star and the biggest story on the planet. It is an industry of its own, and as such it deserves its own full-time correspondent," the magazine said.

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Al-Nassr president Musalli al-Muammar said the signing goes beyond football.

"The agreement with Ronaldo is not limited to football, as it will support the Academy of the club that we intend to build, in addition to showing our history and bringing its fame to football fans," al-Muammar said at the press conference. 

Saudi Arabia has recently turned to sport to raise its global profile. The Gulf kingdom has poured money into sporting events like the LIV Golf Tournament and clubs like English Premier League team Newcastle United.

Critics accuse Riyadh of using sporting and cultural events to divert attention from its human rights abuses.