Cristiano Ronaldo is not one to mince his words. The world’s top scorer of the year 2023 was questioned in the run-up to the Globe Soccer Awards gala about the level of the Saudi Pro League, in which he currently plays.
He offered a comment that is bound to be controversial.
“To be honest, I think the Saudi league is not worse than the French league,” Ronaldo declared.
“In the French league you have two or three teams with a good level, in Arabia you don’t. I think it’s more competitive. I think it is more competitive. You can say what you want, it’s my opinion and I played there for a year so I know what I’m talking about.
“I think we are better than the French league right now. We will keep improving.”
Why did Ronaldo end up in Saudi Arabia?
Cristiano arrived at Al Nassr at the end of 2022, after the Qatar World Cup, having terminated his contract with Manchester United.
He managed 54 goals for the Arab side last year 2023, surpassing strikers such as Harry Kane, Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.
“I was the top scorer this season, imagine beating young animals like Erling Haaland? I’m proud, and I’ll be 39 soon! I like it when people doubt me again and then I’m successful. I’m not affected by criticism,” he added.
Cristiano also spoke about the future of the Saudi Arabian league, which has huge aspirations for growth, especially with regards to potentially competing in the Champions League.
“I feel very happy at Al Nassr, it’s a big step. Saudi Arabia is in a process, it will take a long time… but step by step they will reach the highest level. I think the Saudi Pro League will be among the top three leagues in the world. People in Arabia will be proud.”
His retirement, praise for City…
When questioned about his retirement, he was jocular in his riposte.
“With some issues I’ve had on a personal and professional level they make me think in a different way, so I always try to focus on the present, I feel good, I’m fine, I’m still able to score some goals, to help my team, the national team. So, I will continue, for now I will continue, when will I finish, I don’t know to be honest, but it will be soon, 10 more years.”
The Portuguese praised the campaign of Champions League winners City, and mentioned Madrid when listing the candidates to win this year’s edition.
“The character, the personality of the players, their coach? For me they are the best. I would highlight the way they deal with difficult moments,” he concluded.
“Manchester City have a good chance of winning the Champions League again.
“Favorites? Manchester City, Real Madrid and Bayern.”
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