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World Cup 2030: Saudi Arabia’s massive bid with Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

Qatar 2022, one of the most controversial World Cups in soccer history, is over. Argentina were crowned world champions after defeating France in an explosive, enthralling final, and now soccer fans have to wait four long years for the next edition of the tournament scheduled to take place in 2026 in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

While Lionel Messi said goodbye to what was perhaps his last World Cup holding the trophy itself, Cristiano Ronaldo left early after Portugal’s quarterfinal elimination at Moroccan hands.

Now, both could return to World Cup action in a role, as ambassadors pushing a Saudi Arabian bid for the 2030 World Cup. “There are only two things that can unite Ronaldo and Messi”, Simon Chadwick, professor of sport and geopolitical economics at SKEMA Business School in Paris, said in a Zoom interview. “One is Louis Vuitton. And the other is Saudi Arabia.”

Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could back Saudi Arabia’s bid

Even before Portugal were knocked out of Qatar 2022, the international media rumour mill was talking up a monstrous offer from Saudi Arabia for Cristiano. The figure being bandied about was of more than $350 million dollars for the next three years.

Ronaldo had been left without a team after Manchester United terminated the Portuguese’s contract for criticizing the club and Dutch manager Erik Ten Hag during an interview with Piers Morgan.

In May, Messi signed a deal to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia, and just months later the country began dropping sizeable hints about its 2030 bid, with the nods and winks growing stronger every week. Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb has now said Saudi Arabia is considering a bid with Greece and Egypt.

FIFA won’t make a decision on the 2030 World Cup until 2024, with Uruguay and Argentina also looking to put together a major bid to host the World Cup. That bid from Argentina may give newly-crowned world champion Messi something of an issue.

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