Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

Al Nassr star Cristiano Ronaldo recently assessed his time playing in the Saudi Premier League after moving to the Middle Eastern club on a free transfer in January. Ronaldo has made a huge claim that although the Saudi Pro League is not comparable to the Premier League, it has the potential to be among the best in the next five years. The ex-Manchester United forward spent eight seasons in the English top flight across two spells.

However, after a poor 2022 World Cup campaign with Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo mutually terminated his contract with Manchester United in November and joined Saudi Pro League team Al-Nassr a month later. Ronaldo has adjusted to life in the Middle East after having trouble in his first few games. He has scored nine goals in eight league games, including a breathtaking 30-yard free kick in a 2-1 victory over Abha.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Al Nassr roped in Cristiano Ronaldo in January this year on the richest contract in the history of any sport. Credits: Twitter

Cristiano Ronaldo claims the Saudi Pro League ‘surprised’ him with its competitiveness

Eyebrows were raised when Cristiano Ronaldo bid farewell to Europe after leaving United, and moved to the middle-east. He signed the most lucrative contract in the history of any sport, which sees the five-time Ballon d’Or winner pocket annual wages of £175m. However, his transfer to the low-key Saudi Pro League came despite the forward himself claiming in the Piers Morgan interview that he wants to continue playing at the highest level for at least another two years.

And before he could move to another elite club across Europe after stints with United, Real Madrid and Juventus, Ronaldo found himself in Riyadh, penning the richest deal with Al Nassr. The 38-year-old has recently made a grand assertion that the Saudi Pro League will one day be regarded as one of the elite leagues, also challenging the detractors to view it ‘differently’. Ronaldo told reporters while on international duty with Portugal:

“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. 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.”

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the Saudi Pro League can become one of the elite leagues just like the Premier League. Credits: Twitter

With the five-time Champions League winner’s arrival at the Middle Eastern club, Asian football is now more well-liked than ever. Once Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr, the Saudi pro League has begun to be broadcast in many new nations. Al Nassr are currently sat second in the Saudi Pro League standings. With 49 points from 21 games, they are one point behind league leaders Al-Ittihad.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been called up to the most recent Portugal squad by new manager Roberto Martinez, despite the fact that he no longer competes in one of Europe’s top leagues. The EURO 2016 champion will be one of the team’s leaders in their forthcoming 2024 European Championship qualifiers. As the EURO 2024 qualifiers commence on Thursday, the Ronaldo and Portugal will play Liechtenstein before facing Luxembourg three days later.