Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo (38-Alnasr) spoke about the hotly contested Saudi Arabian soccer league, a possible return to Europe, and more in an unusually long interview. 메이저놀이터
“There were people who criticized me for going to the Saudi league,” Ronaldo said after Celta Vigo’s 0-5 preseason friendly defeat at the Estadio Algarve in Portugal on Aug. 18 (KST). “I opened the way, and now all the players are coming here,” he said.
“My move to Saudi Arabia was 100 percent decisive in bringing in the best players, that’s a fact,” he boasted.
Ronaldo, who flew to Saudi Arabia after leaving United in January, added: “In the next year, more and more top players will come to Saudi Arabia. The quality of the players coming is different from what the UEFA president said. Jota (Al-Ittihad) and Ruben Neves (Al-Hilal) are young players,” he retorted.
“Tell me who has gone to Saudi Arabia in their prime,” UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said in an interview last month, adding the nuance that the Saudi league is only for “older players” like Ronaldo and Karim Benzema (36, Al Ittihad). This seems to have rubbed Ronaldo the wrong way.
Ronaldo seems to have gotten caught up in the idea of ‘my way is the way’. “When I moved to Juventus (in 2018), Serie A was a dead league. After I joined, the league was revived. Wherever Cristiano goes, it generates more interest.”
Ronaldo sounded confident that the Saudi league could become a world-class league. “The Saudi league will overtake the Turkish and Dutch leagues within a year,” he said, adding that “the Saudi league is better than the MLS (Major League Soccer).” The MLS is the league that recently welcomed Ronaldo’s “eternal rival” Lionel Messi, 36, of Inter Miami. It’s a subtle nod to his rivalry with Messi.
“I will never go back to Europe again,” said Ronaldo, who enjoyed a glittering career with Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus over two decades. I’m 38 years old now. European soccer (leagues) have lost quality, except for the Premier League. The Premier League is far ahead of all other leagues.”
Ronaldo scored 14 goals in 16 appearances for Alnasr last season.