Imagine, Cristiano Ronaldo playing against Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) champions Bashundhara Kings at their home ground, Kings Arena, in Dhaka with thousands of fans shouting at the top of their lungs from a jam packed gallery.
This scenario would’ve been passed off as nothing more than fantasy even a few days ago. But now, it’s well within the realm of possibilities.
The Portuguese megastar has signed a two-and-a half years long contract with Saudi Arabian club Al-Nassr for a total salary of €200 million.
Al-Nassr are currently at the top of the table in Saudi Pro League, their top division football league. If Al-Nassr win the league or become champions in Kings Cup, another domestic competition in Saudi Arabia, they will earn the right to compete at the 2023-24 edition of the AFC Champions League, the top tier club football competition in Asia.
Clubs from Bangladesh usually compete at AFC Cup, the second tier club football competition in Asia.
However, thanks to Abahani limited, who had qualified for the inter-regional semifinal of the AFC Cup in the previous edition, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has allotted a spot for the BPL champions in the AFC Champions League play-off.
As the current BPL champions, Bashundhara Kings will get to take part in the play-off this year. If Bashundhara win the play-off, they will get included in the group-phase of the AFC Champions League, where they could get slotted in the same group as Ronaldo’s club Al-Nassr.
To make this dream scenario possible, Bashundhara also has to attain the license to compete at the AFC Champions League.
To attain the license, Bashundhara would have to meet a long list of requirements, which according to the club’s technical director Bayazid Alam Zubair Nipu, the club is already working on.
“We have a huge chance to compete at the AFC Champions League. We will complete the club licensing. There are many conditions, which will take us some time to fulfil. But the Kings are taking this matter very seriously. The Kings will do everything possible to compete at the Champions League,” Bayazid said.
Previously, Bashundhara have competed twice at the AFC Cup and were eliminated from the group-stage on both occasions.
This time, Bashundhara are aiming to make it to the premier club competition in Asia. However, the date of their play-off hasn’t been set yet and it’s unlikely to be held before August.