Luxurious homes, £630,000 watches, mouthwatering salaries… and exemptions from the law! The lavish lifestyle tempting the world’s top footballers to Saudi Arabia with Ronaldo set to be joined by Benzema, Kante and more
- Ronaldo has been loving life since completing a £175m-a-year move to Saudi
- The ex-Man United and Real Madrid star is being treated like a king in the country
- Several other world-class players are now expected to join him in the Middle East
Two months after providing the platform for his extraordinary attack on Manchester United and the acrimonious split which followed, Piers Morgan was asked if Cristiano Ronaldo was enjoying life out in Saudi Arabia.
‘Definitely,’ Morgan said in an interview with Tatler. ‘I’ve swapped a few texts with him and he’s absolutely loving it, on and off the pitch.’
When taking a look at the many privileges and luxuries Ronaldo has already been afforded in the Middle East, it is not hard to see why.
After United terminated his contract last November – a more-than appropriate response to his verbal assault on the club in that explosive interview with Morgan – the five-time Ballon d’Or winner signed a mouthwatering £175million-a-year contract to head to Saudi in January, with Pro League club Al-Nassr sealing a major coup for the country by getting their hands on one of the greatest players of all time.
Many billed the move as, essentially, the end of his days at football’s elite level. With no top clubs interested in taking him from United – a damning indictment of his fading powers – Ronaldo had little choice but to call time on his Champions League career and accept Saudi’s millions.
Cristiano Ronaldo has been ‘loving’ life in Saudi Arabia since moving to the country in January
Ronaldo completed a staggering £175million-a-year move to Al-Nassr after leaving Man United
While the football standard is mediocre at best, he has been treated like a king off the pitch
Ronaldo has enjoyed countless privileges and luxuries since flocking to the Middle East
The standard of football in the Pro League is mediocre at best, marking a significant dip in level for a player who scored an astonishing 450 goals in 438 appearances for European titans Real Madrid. However, world-class competition on the pitch is hardly the selling point of a move to Saudi.
Because off it, Ronaldo has been treated like a king in the country; receiving £630,000 custom-made watches, staying in luxury accommodation, and even being granted an exemption from one of their strictest laws.
It’s this lavish lifestyle that is tempting the likes of Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante to join him in Saudi this summer – and almost convinced Inter Miami-bound Lionel Messi to join.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is reportedly staying in an exclusive gated community, with round-the-clock security.
Shortly after arriving at Al-Nassr in January, Ronaldo was awarded a unique £630,000 watch in recognition of his money-spinning move to Saudi.
Cristiano Ronaldo and his family are reportedly staying in an exclusive compound
Ronaldo also received a custom-made £630,000 Saudi-themed watch from Jacob & Co
The one-of-a-kind timepiece, with a dark-green Saudi theme to represent the country’s flag and its main religion Islam, has 338 extremely rare gemstones embedded in it
Ronaldo showed off the watch, which is a ‘Caviar Flying Tourbillon Tsavorite’ made up of 216 different components, 27 jewels and with a 42-hour power reserve, in a flashy Instagram post
The one-of-a-kind Jacob and Co timepiece, with a dark-green Saudi theme to represent the country’s flag and its main religion Islam, has 338 extremely rare gemstones embedded in it and is 18 carat white gold, with a size of 47mm by 15.85mm and an alligator-green leather strap.
Ronaldo showed off the watch, which is a ‘Caviar Flying Tourbillon Tsavorite’ made up of 216 different components, 27 jewels and with a 42-hour power reserve, in a flashy Instagram post.
Rather than emeralds, a traditional green precious stone, the watch contains tsavorite, believed to be the most expensive and valuable garnet, which is more sparkly than emeralds and 200 times rarer.
The 37-year-old added the glamorous timepiece to his expensive collection, with Mail Sport previously reporting that he has an incredible £5m watch collection – from a £1.6m diamond-encrusted Franck Muller to a £400,000 Rolex GMT-Master II.
His long-time partner Rodriguez, meanwhile, has been a hit on the social scene in Saudi.
Coverage of her social debut at the Joy Awards – is said to have far outweighed that of famous actress Sofia Vergara who had been named ‘Person of the Year’.
Tatler report that Rodriguez has already amassed a huge fanbase in Saudi, with one person describing her as an ‘icon’ before she even arrived.
His long-time partner Georgina Rodriguez (right) has been a hit on the social scene in Saudi
Rodriguez was described as a social ‘icon’ in Saudi before she even arrived in the country
Ronaldo has also thrown himself into Saudi’s culture by visiting various bars and events, including Dariyah Nights – a shopping, art and music festival – with Minister of Sports Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal. He also attended Tommy Fury’s boxing clash with Jake Paul.
Nevertheless, extravagant hotels, flashy watches and the country’s vibrant social scene are not the only perks of living in Saudi.
As first reported by Spanish publication SPORT, Ronaldo and Rodriguez appear to have broken Saudi law by living together despite not being married.
The 37-year-old met Rodriguez while he playing for Real Madrid and they have two children together – Bella and Alana.
Ronaldo also has three other children – Cristiano Jr. and twins Eva and Mateo.
However, like in many other Muslim countries, Saudi law forbids men and women from living together unless they are ‘mahram’ – an Arabic term referring to close family members or spouses.
Given they are yet to officially tie the knot, Ronaldo and Rodriguez appear to have been breaking this law while residing together in their Kingdom Suite.
Saudi law states that men and women are not allowed to live together if they are not married, and Rodriguez and Ronaldo are yet to officially tie the knot
The star attended the boxing match between Tommy Fury and Jake Paul back in February
Yet SPORT’s report went on to state that, according to EFE – a Spanish news agency – Ronaldo’s status as one of the most marketable athletes in the world means he is unlikely to be punished.
Quoting two separate Saudi lawyers, the legal professionals expected the relevant authorities to not become involved in Ronaldo’s situation.
One said: ‘Although the laws still prohibit cohabitation without a marriage contract, the authorities have begun to turn a blind eye and do not persecute anyone. Of course, these laws are used when there is a problem or a crime.’
A second added: ‘The Saudi Arabian authorities, today, do not interfere in this matter [in the case of foreigners], but the law continues to prohibit cohabitation outside of marriage.’
So not only has Ronaldo been showered in expensive gifts and grandeur hotel suites, he is also exempt from Saudi legislation.
These privileges appear to be turning the heads of Benzema and Kante – both World Cup winners destined to follow Ronaldo to the country this summer.
Messi has also already experienced the hospitality of Saudi Arabia. The Argentina star, along with his wife Antonela Roccuzzo and sons Mateo and Ciro, were treated to a number of outings on their visit to the country earlier this year.
His latest visit last month effectively brought an end to his time at Paris Saint-Germain, who briefly suspended their star man after his unauthorised trip saw him miss training with Christophe Galtier’s men.
Ronaldo could be joined in Saudi by famous rival Lionel Messi and his wife Antonela Roccuzzo
Lionel Messi, wife Antonela Roccuzzo and sons Mateo and Ciro pose with horses during their recent visit to Saudi Arabia
The family visited an amusement park in Riyadh as part of Messi’s ambassadorial role
Karim Benzema (left) recently signed for Al-Ittihad, with N’Golo Kante (right) also linked
Instead, Messi headed to Saudi for one of his commercial commitments as ambassador for tourism there.
Messi, Roccuzzo and their sons Mateo and Ciro were later pictured on guided tour of the town of Diriyah, the original home of the Saudi royal family.
They were also taken to the city of At-Turaif, on the outskirts of the capital Riyadh, with photos showing the family at the Arabian Horse Museum. Messi was also seen posing with a white falcon resting on his arm.
The Saudi Tourism Authority added that Messi and his family had visited the AlUla nature reserve, where he was seen feeding gazelles with Mateo and Ciro.
The second day of the trip saw the family visit Riyadh’s entertainment and retail districts.
Messi signed a lucrative £25m-a-year deal with Saudi to promote the kingdom in May last year as a tourism ambassador.
All three players can expect the same royal treatment Ronaldo has so far enjoyed in Saudi
The holiday marked his second trip in the role, having previously visited Jeddah shortly after the deal was agreed.
He has now been offered a lucrative contract with Al Hilal as he prepares to depart PSG, though MLS club Inter Miami are also vying for his signature.
Benzema has already been unveiled by Al-Ittihad after penning an incredible £258m deal with the Saudi team following his Madrid exit at the weekend.
Kante, meanwhile, is close to joining his fellow Frenchman at Al-Ittihad on a two-year deal worth £172million as he prepares to wave goodbye to Chelsea.
While they shouldn’t expect fireworks on the pitch, the trio can prepare themselves for the same royal treatment Ronaldo has lapped up in Saudi.
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