July 18 (Reuters) – Cristiano Ronaldo says there is no chance of him playing club football in Europe again and that the Saudi Arabian league is better than Major League Soccer, as his arch rival Lionel Messi has opted to start the next chapter in his career. .
Ronaldo, who joined Al Nasser in December on a 2-1/2-year deal following his exit from Manchester United, said other top players have paved the way to sign with Saudi teams and move to the desert kingdom. .
The 38-year-old Portugal captain, speaking after Al Nasser’s 5-0 defeat to Celta Vigo in a pre-season friendly on Monday, said most European leagues were in decline.
“I am 100% sure that I will not return to any European club. I am 38 years old,” ESPN quoted him as saying.
“European football has lost a lot of quality. What is right and still doing well is the (English) Premier League. They are ahead of all the other leagues.”
Messi, Ronaldo’s long-time rival, also signed a contract until 2025 before moving to Saudi Arabia and transferring to Argentine World Cup winner MLS side Inter Miami.
Ronaldo said the Saudi league is better than MLS.
“Now all the players are coming here … In another year, there will be many more great players coming to Saudi Arabia.”
A number of high-profile players have followed Ronaldo to the Saudi league, including Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema from Real Madrid and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante to join champions Al-Ittihad.
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Rohit Nair reports in Bangalore; Peter Rutherford
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