Cristiano Ronaldo defends Saudi Arabia again! Al-Nassr star insists Pro League is better than Portuguese top flight after dig at Lionel Messi and MLS

Cristiano Ronaldo Nassr 2023Getty
  • Ronaldo criticised for Saudi move
  • Signed lucrative deal with Al-Nassr
  • Says Pro League better than Portugal's

WHAT HAPPENED? Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in a lucrative deal in January after leaving Manchester United. Many top names have followed the Portugal hero to the Middle East and many have been criticised for following the money to Saudi Arabia - despite the country's human rights record - instead of competing at a high standard in Europe. Ronaldo, however, insists the Saudi league is even better than the Primeira Liga in his homeland and argues that all leagues and countries face some kind of criticism.

WHAT THEY SAID: "It's normal to criticise, what league is not criticised? Where there aren't problems and controversy? There are everywhere. Spain, Portugal," he said at a press conference. "I already knew, I keep saying: everyone thought I was crazy, crazy isn't so crazy... It's already normal to play in the Saudi Arabian league.

"As an Al-Nassr player, I knew this was going to happen, it's a privilege to change a country's culture and football, to have great stars, it makes me proud. I was the pioneer and I feel proud of it. What I want most is to continue to evolve always, so that I can be at the top."

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He added: "I believe that the Arab League is better than the Portuguese one. It's not just the controversy, there's not so much fuss, the quality of the names is much better. I hope it can get better, I know it will be difficult. Possibly impossible. It turns out to be a circus what has been happening lately."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: After Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr, the Saudi top flight has been able to lure the likes of Karim Benzema, Neymar, N'Golo Kante, Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Neves, Jordan Henderson and Roberto Firmino, among many others.

One big name who snubbed the advances of Saudi Arabia was Lionel Messi, who opted to join Inter Miami in MLS. However, Ronaldo aimed a sly dig at the standard of football in the United States in July, saying: "The Saudi championship is much better than the USA."


Cristiano Ronaldo Al-Nassr 2023-24Getty Imageslionel messi lafc Getty ImagesKarim Benzema - Ittihad 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR RONALDO? The veteran forward may make his 201st appearance for Portugal when they take on Slovakia on September 8, which will be followed by a game against Luxembourg three days later.

Who will win the Saudi Pro League top scorer award this season?

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Who will win the Saudi Pro League top scorer award this season?

  • 70%Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 9%Karim Benzema
  • 8%Neymar
  • 6%Roberto Firmino
  • 1%Malcom
  • 6%Other
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