Cristiano Ronaldo claims Saudi Arabian league is ‘better’ than MLS, rules out return to Europe

Cristiano Ronaldo won’t be coming to Major League Soccer anytime soon.

Ronaldo was asked about following Lionel Messi’s move to MLS one day after Al-Nassr’s 5-0 loss to La Liga’s Celta Vigo on Monday night in Portugal. Ronaldo quickly shut that idea down, and even ruled out a return to Europe.

“The Saudi league is better than MLS,” Ronaldo said, .

“I opened the way to the Saudi league and now all the players are coming here,” he added.

to join the Saudi Arabian club in December — a move that was long expected after his . Ronaldo is reportedly making more than $200 million a season playing in Saudi Arabia.

Cristiano Ronaldo won’t follow Lionel Messi’s move to the United States anytime soon

Cristiano Ronaldo won’t follow Lionel Messi’s move to the United States anytime soon. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The soccer icon is by far the biggest player to join a Saudi Pro League club. Several other notable names have since followed suit, including Karim Benzema, Marcelo Brozovic, N’Golo Kante and Roberto Firmino. , following attempts in golf, Formula 1 and more.

At 38, Ronaldo’s career is undoubtedly nearing its end. He played just half of Monday’s friendly loss in Portugal, the first of two the team will play this week. The way he sounded on Monday, however, makes it seem like Ronaldo is more than content finishing out his playing days in Saudi Arabia. His long history in three of Europe’s top leagues — the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A — are behind him, and he doesn’t want to return.

“I’m 100% sure I won’t return to any European club,” Ronaldo said, . “I’m 38 years old. And European football has lost a lot of quality. The only valid one and still doing good is the Premier League. They’re way ahead of all the other leagues.”

Ronaldo’s take comes on the heels of Lionel Messi’s official debut in MLS with Inter Miami. Messi, arguably the best soccer player ever, . His arrival to the league marked a new era for the league, which has now landed by far its biggest star — even as he’s 36 and also nearing the end of his career. Inter Miami currently holds just a 5-3-14 record, the worst in MLS. Messi is set to make his playing debut with the club on Friday against Mexican side Cruz Azul.