Al Nassr striker Cristiano Ronaldo expressed his opinion that the Saudi Pro League surpasses the MLS and stated that he has no intentions of joining a team in the United States or making a comeback to a European club.
During a media interaction following Al Nassr’s 5-0 preseason defeat to LaLiga team Celta Vigo in Portugal, Ronaldo shared his thoughts. When asked about the possibility of a move to the U.S., similar to his former rival Lionel Messi who recently joined Inter Miami CF, the Portuguese star remarked, “The Saudi league is better than MLS.”
After being substituted at halftime while the score remained 0-0, Ronaldo continued, “I paved the way for the Saudi league, and now many players are coming here.”
Indeed, several prominent players have followed Ronaldo’s lead this summer. Karim Benzema, Marcelo Brozovic, N’Golo Kante, and Roberto Firmino have all signed contracts to play in the Saudi Pro League. Brozovic, a former Inter Milan player, was on the field alongside Ronaldo on Monday after joining Al Nassr on July 3.
“In a year, more and more top players will come to Saudi. The Saudi league will surpass the Turkish league and Dutch league,” Ronaldo added, expressing his anticipation for the future.
The 38-year-old forward is entering his first full season with Al Nassr, having joined the club in January following a controversial departure from Manchester United, where he had returned for a second stint.
Ronaldo, who holds the record for the most goals scored for Real Madrid, also stated that his days of playing in Europe are behind him and that he believes the level of competition there has declined in recent years.
“I’m completely certain that I won’t return to any European club,” Ronaldo affirmed. “At 38 years old, European football has lost a considerable amount of quality. The only league that remains strong and competitive is the Premier League. They are far ahead of all the other leagues.”
The match against Celta Vigo marked the debut of Rafa Benitez, the former Valencia and Liverpool coach, as the new head coach of Celta Vigo. Benitez was appointed by the Spanish club in June after their 13th-place finish in LaLiga last season.
Al Nassr’s next friendly in Portugal is scheduled for Thursday against Benfica, the domestic champions.
“The initial plan was for me to play 45 minutes today,” Ronaldo shared. “Against Benfica, I may play 60 or 70 minutes. Gradually fine-tuning my form is the better approach to reach my peak performance.”