Ronaldo faces Portugal backlash if he accepts offer from Al-Nassr

MATT HUGHES: Cristiano Ronaldo faces Portugal BACKLASH if he accepts huge offer from Saudi Arabia side Al-Nassr and becomes the frontman of the country’s bid to host 2030 world cup… while Sky Sports could AXE channels after losing 255k subscribers

  • Cristiano Ronaldo could face Portugal backlash if he joins Saudi side Al-Nassr
  • Saudi Arabia could use him as the face of their bid to host the 2030 World Cup   
  • That could anger Portugal who are entering a joint venture to bid with Spain  
  • Elsewhere, Sky Sports are considering reducing their channels next year 
  • Sky lost 255K subscribers this year as pressure builds from US parent company 

Cristiano Ronaldo faces a backlash in Portugal if he accepts the extraordinary £173million-a-year offer he has received from Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr.

Sportsmail has learned that the three-year deal offered to Ronaldo would commit him to becoming the face of football in Saudi, including fronting the country’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Portugal are also bidding to host the tournament in a joint endeavour with Spain, which has raised the prospect of Ronaldo seeking to defeat his own country.

Cristiano Ronaldo could face backlash from Portugal if he joins Saudi side Al-Nassr

Saudi Arabia may look to use the Portuguese superstar as the face of their 2030 World Cup bid

To complicate matters further Ronaldo’s great rival Lionel Messi also has a deal to promote Saudi tourism, but that does not involve the World Cup bid, with his native Argentina also launching a joint bid.

Ronaldo, 37, is available on a free transfer after agreeing to terminate his deal at Manchester United, but is hoping to attract interest from Champions League clubs next month before committing himself.

He is using Real Madrid’s training facilities to maintain his fitness in anticipation of a January move, although Al-Nassr are the only club to make him a formal offer so far.

But this could upset Portugal who are in a joint venture with Spain to also make a bid for 2030

FIFA take Club World Cup in-house

FIFA will take complete control of the running of the 2026 World Cup in the United States after encountering numerous problems working with Qatar’s Supreme Committee.

The 2022 joint venture between FIFA and Qatar has been blighted by infighting over issues such as workers’ rights, political protests and compensation due to sponsor Budweiser after the late removal of alcohol sales at stadiums.

FIFA were last week interestingly embroiled in legal disputes with the Supreme Committee

Sportsmail revealed last week that FIFA have become embroiled in legal disputes with the Supreme Committee and the world governing body have decided to take the 2026 World Cup in-house. 

Responsibility for delivering the tournament in the USA is likely to fall under the jurisdiction of FIFA’s chief operating officer Colin Smith.

Chelsea’s Medical Turmoil

Turmoil among Chelsea’s medical team continues with long-serving physiotherapist Jon Fearn the latest member of staff to leave the club this week.

Fearn has spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge with his departure following those of medical director Dr Paco Biosca and head physio Thierry Laurent, who both left the club in September.

Chelsea have yet to secure permanent replacements and are instead using consultants from the London-based Remedy clinic, which is run by former Irish footballer Freddie Murray.

Physiotherapist Jon Fearn is the latest staff member to leave Graham Potter’s (pictured) team

Women’s football teams invited to European Club Association

The European Club Association will admit women’s teams for the first time next year, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City set to be among the first to join. 

Around 40 women’s clubs will be invited to join the powerful lobbying group, who represents 220 of Europe’s male teams, at the next ECA general assembly in Budapest next March in a move it is hoped will lead to greater co-operation between the men’s and women’s game.

Around 40 women’s clubs will be invited to join the lobbying group, including Chelsea

Sky look to CUT channels  

Sky Sports are considering reducing their number of channels next year due to pressure from their US parent company Comcast to cut costs. 

Sky lost 255,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year with revenue dropping 13.8 per cent and they are anticipating further losses over the next few months as the impact of the cost-of-living crisis hits customers. 

Sky Sports expanded to 11 channels five years ago as part of a strategy that allowed viewers to purchase packages to watch individual sports, with some of those channels now vulnerable to cuts. In another sign of cost-cutting, Comcast are close to completing a sale of Sky Deutschland. 

Julian Knight joins forces with Rooney’s PR man 

Julian Knight has recruited Wayne Rooney’s PR man, Ian Monk, to salvage his reputation after he was stripped of the Conservative Party whip last week. 

The Solihull MP has denied any wrongdoing after the Metropolitan Police received a complaint about his behaviour, and claims he is the victim of attempted blackmail.

Monk specialises in reputation management and was brought in by Rooney to help him deal with the fallout of off-field scrapes towards the end of his career. 

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