Cristiano Ronaldo has aimed a dig at eternal rival Lionel Messi by claiming that the “Saudi championship is much better than the USA”.
The Portuguese superstar has been in the Middle East since taking the decision to join Al-Nassr on the back of the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
He was a free agent at that point following his release by Manchester United.
He has since seen Messi reach the end of his contract at Paris Saint-Germain, allowing him to choose the next port of call in his remarkable career.
The Argentine icon has signed for MLS outfit Inter Miami, in a major coup for MLS and the American game as a whole, with interest from Saudi Arabia said to have been snubbed.
Ronaldo has suggested that Messi took the easy option in heading for the United States, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner telling reporters when asked what the future holds for him:
“Returning to Europe, for me, is a closed possibility, I’m already 38-and-a-half years old and… it’s not worth it. 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.”
Ronaldo has spent time in Europe with Sporting, United, Real Madrid and Juventus, but he believes that – with the likes of Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Marcelo Brozovic joining him in Saudi Arabia – the Middle East is the place to be.
He 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.”