CRISTIANO RONALDO has reportedly turned down a £5.3million-a-year offer to be the face of Saudi Arabia tourism.
But the Middle East country has not given up hope of attracting a world-class footballer to help them out, with Lionel Messi in their sights.
According to The Telegraph, ‘the deal on offer is understood to include the player making visits to Saudi and his image being used in all promotional material’.
But Juventus striker Ronaldo, 35, decided to ‘pass’ on the offer.
Concerns have been raised over Saudi Arabia’s human rights record as the country tries to attract world-class sport to its shores.
Formula One bosses have been condemned by human rights groups for scheduling next year’s penultimate race of the season in Saudi Arabia.
And Amnesty International slammed the decision to host the Anthony Joshua versus Andy Ruiz Jnr rematch in the country.
They urged AJ to speak out against the country’s human rights history, but the 31-year old instead was ‘trying to do a good job politically’.
Many fans raised serious concerns, with Amnesty International accusing the group of ‘Sportswashing’ – where the cover of sport is used to cover up grievances.
And the fiancee of the murdered Saudi Arabis journalist Jamal Khashoogi urged Premier League chiefs to block the takeover.
Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz warned the deal would ‘greatly stain’ the Premier League’s image and Britain’s reputation.
US-based Khashoggi — a critic of the Saudi government — was murdered inside the country’s consulate in Turkey in 2018.
Cengiz accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — who chaired the wealth fund trying to buy the Toon — of ‘strategically using international sports to repair his badly-damaged reputation’.
There have been over 800 executions performed since 2015, and Saudi has been heavily criticised over its involvement in a brutal war in Yemen.