Luxurious living awaits Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia: The star player can have a £12.2million palace with an Olympic-size swimming pool and enjoy 50C in a fenced yard protected by strict Islamic law sunbathing.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his family are set to emigrate to Saudi Arabia and live a life of luxury in the sun as one of the Islamic nation’s most respected residents.

The Portuguese striker will be greeted warmly by the desert kingdom’s rulers, who want Saudi Arabia to become more attractive to Western tourists.

Ronaldo, 37, is reportedly close to signing with top Saudi football club Al Nassr in a gold deal that will net him £175million a year.

The move makes him an ambassador for Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2030 World Cup, following in the footsteps of David Beckham, who controversially advanced to Qatar in this year’s final.

The father-of-five and his longtime partner Georgina Rodriguez are expected to live as expats in Western compounds or palaces, largely immune to the conservative country’s strict Islamic laws.

Ahead of Ronaldo’s expected arrival, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is determined to work to modernize his country and soften its hawkish international reputation.

Al-Nasser, who lives in the Saudi capital Riyadh, took aim at the legendary striker after his Manchester United contract was terminated earlier this month after he attacked the club in a blockbuster interview with Piers Morgan.

Riyadh is known as one of the most conservative cities in Saudi Arabia, where locals pray five times a day, while summer temperatures can soar above 50°C and dry winds often bring dust.

Once known mainly for its palm trees and date palms, the city has grown into a sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers and gleaming air-conditioned malls alongside tree-lined avenues and ancient mosques.

The city is currently experiencing what is known as Riyadh season, with cultural attractions including concerts and plays, a winter wonderland theme park, a toy festival, a fragrance fair and a celebration of local crafts.

Saudi Arabia’s traditional reluctance to accept other religions has eased, and this winter marks the third year that stores have been allowed to openly display Christmas decorations and celebrate other religious holidays

If his relocation goes through, Ronaldo and his family could live in one of the city’s prestigious neighbourhoods, such as Al Muhammadiyah, known for its world-class restaurants, or Al Nakheel, popular with families for its international schools.

Both precincts are close to Al Nassr’s 25,000-seat stadium at Msool Park, formerly the King Saud University Stadium, and feature extensive high-end ground facilities built for Western residents.

Many have their own swimming pools, preschools, shops, clinics, gyms and restaurants, so residents rarely need to leave all of this.

They can live behind walls, largely protected by the Mutaween religious police, who ensure mainstream Saudi society is governed by Sharia law, but which has been stripped of most of its powers in recent years.

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