Al Nassr forward Cristiano Ronaldo said the Saudi Pro League “is better” than Major League Soccer and that he has no plans to play in the United States or return to a team in Europe.
Ronaldo was speaking to the media after playing the first half of Al Nassr’s 5-0 preseason friendly defeat to La Liga side Celta Vigo in his native Portugal.
“The Saudi league is better than MLS,” Ronaldo said when asked about whether he’d consider a move to the United States like his great rival Lionel Messi, who was unveiled as an Inter Miami player on Sunday.
“Now all the players are coming here,” Ronaldo said. “In one year, more top players will come to Saudi Arabia.”
Ronaldo, who was substituted at half-time with the score tied 0-0, added: “I opened the way to the Saudi league, and now all the players are coming here.”
Several high-profile players have followed Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia, including Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema from Real Madrid and N’Golo Kante from Chelsea, who both joined champions Al-Ittihad.
The 38-year-old Portugal captain, who joined Al Nassr in December on a two-and-a-half-year contract following his exit from Manchester United, said he had paved the way for other top players to sign with Saudi teams and that more would make the move to the desert kingdom.
“I’m 100% sure I won’t return to any European club. I’m 38 years old,” ESPN quoted him as saying.
“European football has lost a lot of quality. The only valid one and still doing good is the (English) Premier League. They’re way ahead of all the other leagues.”
Messi, Ronaldo’s longtime rival during their time in La Liga, was also linked with a move to Saudi Arabia before the Argentine World Cup winner completed a transfer to Inter Miami, signing a deal until 2025.