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Cleaning the bad image of Qatar with Messi and Cristiano: The strategy behind his hiring

Oil-rich country, Qatar intend to clean their image with the signing of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The country is accused of human rights abuses and labour exploitation ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Cleaning the bad image of Qatar with Messi and Cristiano: The strategy behind his hiring

Paris Saint-Germain has done impressive business this summer. Despite the general gloom and reluctance of many European clubs to spend big money, as occasioned by the Coronavirus, PSG has splashed the cash this summer. In came Achraf Hakimi for £60m from Inter Milan and then followed Danilo Pereira from FC Porto for another £16m. Then, the free signings of Sergio Ramos, Gini Wijnaldum, Gigi Donnarumma and Lionel Messi all came with hefty contracts. These are moves by a club not bothered about where the money would come from. 

Rightly so, because since 2011 when Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) bought the capital club, PSG has been swimming in riches. Though their president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi reiterates that they are within the Financial Fair Play regulations in regards to signing the players. However, many regard this all-out attempt as a means to improve the public image of Qatar. 

Qatar has been accused of grievous human rights offences, labour exploitation and minority discrimination in many corners. The construction of 7 new stadiums and in some cases, Cities (Lusail) has required so many menial workers. These workers have come from largely minority groups in countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. The work conditions are said to be extremely harsh while the living conditions are deplorable. In a bid to improve the image of Qatar, PSG has embarked on recruiting top players.

The French club completed the signing of Lionel Messi from Barcelona this summer. As influencers and popular footballers go, Messi is one of the most potent. The Parisian club is also said to be interested in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus. It is the hope that the huge following and likeability that these players have would translate to the club and ultimately to Qatar. Thus it can be concluded that the push for Messi and Ronaldo by PSG is not only for sporting and commercial gains but also for political gains.

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