As WWE gears up for its highly-anticipated return to Saudi Arabia with the Crown Jewel event on November 4th, buzz is growing about the potential inclusion of global soccer sensation, Cristiano Ronaldo. Last year's event witnessed YouTube superstar Logan Paul stepping up to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, where Reigns successfully defended his monumental title run.
Adding further star power to this year's lineup, 16-time World Champion, John Cena, is already being promoted for the show, marking his first Middle Eastern appearance in half a decade. However, WWE seems intent on upping the ante even further.
Renowned Spanish sports outlet Diario AS has recently reported that the entertainment giant is keen on securing Ronaldo "at any cost" for the upcoming gala.
Ronaldo's Saudi Mega-Deal
Ronaldo's foray into the Saudi Pro League has made headlines recently, particularly following the end of his iconic tenure with Manchester United in November 2022.
As of January 1, 2023, the Portuguese superstar made a seismic shift to Saudi's Al-Nassr, bagging a staggering 200 million Euro annual deal. This move by Ronaldo triggered a domino effect, luring numerous high-profile soccer players to the Saudi Pro League, seduced by the prospect of highly lucrative contracts.
Detractors argue that these substantial investments in global sports stars are strategic attempts at 'sportswashing', especially considering the Saudi government's Public Investment Fund now owns a 75% stake in four top-tier clubs, including Ronaldo's new home, Al-Nassr.
This wouldn't be WWE's first dance with the soccer world. Notably, the 90s saw ex-Wimbledon hardman and actor Vinnie Jones sharing screen time with wrestling legend, Stone Cold Steve Austin, in the UK. Moreover, Ronaldo's ex-teammate, Wayne Rooney, made WWE headlines when he delivered a resounding slap to Wade Barrett after a heated exchange during a Manchester event.
While details about Ronaldo's potential WWE role remain under wraps, the idea of merging soccer fandom with the wrestling universe promises to be an explosive combination, drawing attention on global search engines and possibly charting new territories in sports entertainment.
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