Cristiano Ronaldo aims dig at Lionel Messi after Inter Miami unveiling: 'Saudi league much better than MLS'

The veteran Portuguese forward predicts that more star players will be moving to Saudi Arabia within a year

By Reuters

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Published: Tue 18 Jul 2023, 9:10 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Jul 2023, 11:54 AM

Cristiano Ronaldo said there is no chance of him playing club football in Europe again and that the Saudi Arabian league is better than Major League Soccer, where his great rival Lionel Messi has chosen to begin the next chapter in his career.

Ronaldo, 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.

The 38-year-old Portugal captain, speaking after Al Nassr's 5-0 loss to Celta Vigo in a pre-season friendly on Monday, said most European leagues were in decline.

"I'm 100 per cent 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."

Ronaldo's long-time rival Messi was also linked with a move to Saudi Arabia before the Argentine World Cup winner completed a transfer to MLS side Inter Miami, signing a deal until 2025.

One day after Messi, the 36-year-old Argentinian forward, was officially signed by Major League Soccer's (MLS) Inter Miami, Ronaldo took a verbal shot at his longtime foe.

"The Saudi league is better than MLS," he said.

"Europe lost a lot of quality. The only one that is one of the best is the Premier League, the Spanish league lost its level, the Portuguese one is not 'top,' the German one also lost a lot of quality. The USA? No, the Saudi championship is much better than the USA," he was also quoted as saying in a Lisbon sports newspaper.

"Now all the players are coming here ... In one year, more top players will come to Saudi Arabia."

Since Ronaldo's arrival, the Saudi league has also attracted other international stars such as France's Karim Benzema and N'Golo Kante, Brazil's Roberto Firmino, Senegal's Edouard Mendy, Serbia's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Croatia's Marcelo Brozovic.

Ronaldo added, "In one year, more and more top players will come to Saudi. In a year the Saudi league will overtake the Turkish league and Dutch league."

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