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Cristiano Ronaldo: What has Portugal star said about Saudi Pro League?

Give Me Sport logo Give Me Sport 3/23/2023 Luke Collins
© Provided by Give Me Sport

Cristiano Ronaldo finally looks to be settling in at Al-Nassr – and the Portuguese star believes that the Saudi Pro League could be one of the best leagues in the world soon.

Ronaldo left the Premier League after falling out with Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag last year, taking part in a sensational interview before his contract was terminated.

He signed for Al-Nassr in December 2022, putting pen to paper on a two-year deal for an estimated £175 million per year.

And although he started slowly, Ronaldo has picked up the pace in recent games, scoring nine goals in his last seven league appearances.

That includes a sensational free kick where the forward wound back the years against Abha.

Read More: Cristiano Ronaldo scores insane free-kick goal for Al-Nassr

Ronaldo: Saudi Pro League can match the Premier League’s level

It looks like the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is finally starting to score goals for fun, and he has now opened up about his start to life at Al-Nassr while on international duty.

Ronaldo was full of praise for the Saudi Pro League and believes that while it may not be as competitive as the Premier League right now, it can rapidly rise to the top of the league rankings within five years.

“I feel really good. That's why I'm here. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't be. I'm in a very competitive league. They should look at the Saudi championship differently,” the 38-year-old said.

“Obviously, it's not like the Premier League, I'd be lying if I said it was, but it's competitive. I'm surprised by the strength.

“It has good teams, it is balanced, the Arab players are good, the foreigners give quality.

“Possibly it will be, in five to six years' time, if they continue this plan, the fourth or fifth most competitive league in the world.”

Work to do

At the very top of the division, a case can certainly be made that it’s a very competitive league, with just one point separating Al-Nassr and league leaders, Al-Ittihad.

However, while Ronaldo believes that the league has the potential to grow into one of the best in the world, a lot needs to be done for the Saudi Pro League to break into the top five.

In January 2023, a report in The Athletic said that sports intelligence agency Twenty First Group had ranked the league 58th in the world in their “World Super League” model, with the calculation being made based on the strength of a league’s average team.

Although Al-Nassr were ranked as the 308th best team in the world, a ranking comparable to Luton Town or Sunderland, the worst teams in the division were ranked around the 3000th mark.

For context, that is reportedly around the same level as mid-table National League sides such as FC Halifax Town and Boreham Wood.

Ronaldo does believe the potential is there for the league to grow and a lot can change in five years, but significant progress needs to happen at all teams in the division if the Saudi Pro League wants to crack the top five.


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