- Cristiano Ronaldo made the mistake during a press conference after joining Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr Football Club.
- South African tourism posted a cheeky response on social media after the bad talk.
- Ronaldo will earn around $300 million a year while playing for Al Nassr.
Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo appears to be mistaking South Africa for Saudi Arabia after joining his new Middle Eastern football club this week.
The 37-year-old signed a record deal to join Al Nassr, following a public falling out with his former club Manchester United.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Ronaldo said he was “proud” to join the Middle Eastern club and that the Saudi Arabian league was “competitive”.
But the six-time Ballon d’Or winner confused his host nation with South Africa at the opening press conference.
“This is not the end of my career to come to South Africa,” Ronaldo said.
“And I really don’t care what people say.”
In a cheeky response on social media, South African Tourism said it was “patiently waiting” for Ronaldo and that he was “welcome anytime”.
According to reports, Ronaldo will receive the highest football salary in history. Goal.com reported that he will earn around $300 million annually.
The signing has come under scrutiny from activist and ex-footballer Craig Foster, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Foster, a former Socceroos captain, said Ronaldo should draw attention to human rights concerns in Saudi Arabia.
“An ‘inspiring vision’ for the ‘boys and girls’ say Ronaldo and Al Nassr FC,” Foster wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
“Unless you’re a journalist, human rights defender, LGBTI member or activist, political opponent or prisoner, woman who requires guardianship or considers freedom of expression a basic right.”