Cristiano Ronaldo gestures during practice. File photo
Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr Football Club has put Saudi football on the world map. Media reports suggest that after Qatar successfully hosted the 2022 World Cup, Saudi Arabia is said to be planning to bring the tournament back to the Middle East with Ronaldo as the ambassador for the Saudi World Cup 2030 bid.
Latest data from YouGov’s survey shows seven in ten UAE and KSA residents think Ronaldo’s move to the Saudi club will help the kingdom win the hosting rights for the 2030 FIFA World Cup. Naturally, Saudi residents feel this slightly more strongly than UAE residents (75% vs 71%).
In both the countries, football fans, who are identified as those who consider watching football as one of their top interests or who are somewhat interested in the sport (77% in KSA vs 73% in UAE), were more likely to say this than those who are a little bit or not at all interested in the sport.
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In general, residents in both the countries think this move will have a more positive than negative impact on the future of the club and the sport in the kingdom. Three-quarters of residents think Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr FC will have a positive impact on the future of football/ sports in the country, as well as a positive impact on the future of the club (75% each).
The positive impact on sports in the country is likely to rub off in other areas as well. Seven in ten residents think this move will enhance the perception of Saudi Arabia as a country and draw favourable global attention towards it.
Finally, when asked if Ronaldo’s move to Saudi will encourage more European league players to follow, a large majority in both the countries responded in positive affirmation, with Saudi residents showing notably more optimism than UAE residents (82% vs 73%).
Data was collected online among 2006 adult respondents in UAE & KSA by YouGov’s Omnibus in January 2023 using YouGov’s panel of over 20 million people worldwide