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Cristiano Ronaldo claims Saudi Pro League is "better" than MLS and rules out return to European football

Cristiano Ronaldo claims Saudi Pro League is "better" than MLS and rules out return to European football

Cristiano Ronaldo has doubled down on claims about the Saudi Pro League as it continues to bring in huge signings.

Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the Saudi Pro League is better than the MLS and will soon surpass the Turkish and Dutch leagues.

Lionel Messi turned down a monstrous proposal to join long-time rival Ronaldo in the SPL and instead signed with Inter Miami, who unveiled him as the MLS' marquee signing on Sunday.

It means neither Ronaldo or Messi are playing in Europe but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been joined by a slew of household names in Saudi.

In recent times, Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marcelo Brozovic, Jota, Sergej Milinkovic Savic and Roberto Firmino have all made the move, with plenty more having offers on the table.

Ronaldo kickstarted the Saudi splash in world football with a £173 million-a-year deal at Al Nassr, scoring 14 goals in 19 games in his first season as they finished second.

Though he's appeared frustrated on a number of occasions, the 38-year-old has regularly talked up the level of football in Saudi and outlined how it can become a top league in the future.

He's doubled down on those claims and after praising himself for being the catalyst for future big signings in Saudi, is adamant he will not return to European football.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Ronaldo feels as though the leagues in Spain and Germany are not as strong as they were and believes the SPL will be ahead of the Turkish Super Lig and Eredivisie this time next year.

"The Saudi league is better than the MLS," Ronaldo told media after playing for Al Nassr in a 5-0 defeat to Rafa Benitez's Celta Vigo in Portugal on Monday.

"I'm 100 per cent sure I won't return to any European club. They criticised me for coming to Saudi league, but what happened now? I opened the way to the Saudi league and now all the players are coming here.

"I won't return to European football, the door is completely closed.

"I'm 38-years-old, also European football has lost lot of quality. The only league that for me has a lot of quality and is at a higher level than all the others is the Premier League.

"The Spanish league does not have that great quality. The Portuguese league is a good league, but it is not a top, top league. The German league I think has also lost a lot. I'm sure I won't play in Europe again. I want to play in Saudi Arabia.

"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."

The vast majority of players who have moved to Saudi are in their 30s and have been out of contract, as that is the profile of stars that league chiefs are targeting.

But Ronaldo's compatriots Neves and Jota, both still in their 20s, have signed for Al Hilal and Al Ittihad respectively for a combined total of £72 million.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar therefore disputes claims by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin that it's merely old players heading to Saudi and again gave credit to himself for being the catalyst.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

"Players who arrived aren't like what the president of the European Union said," Ronaldo added.

"Jota and Neves are young players. I think the Saudi league is much better than the United States. My team is Al-Nassr.

"100 per cent. It's a fact. It was going to take a year, but it was six months. I was wrong for six months.

"But I knew this was going to happen because in the Italian league, when I went there, it was also dead and then rejuvenated.

"Where Cristiano goes, it generates greater interest and I knew it was going to be like that. I'm sure that next season more stars will go there [to Saudi Arabia]."

After Monday's hammering, Ronaldo and Al Nassr will return to action in another friendly against Benfica in Lisbon on Thursday.

Featured Image Credit: Getty & Saudi Pro League

Topics: Cristiano Ronaldo, Saudi Pro League, MLS, Inter Miami