Cristiano Ronaldo believes the Saudi Pro League could soon become one of the top five most competitive divisions in world football. The Manchester United and Real Madrid icon has finally settled into life in the Middle East and is enjoying a career revival with Al-Nassr.
Ronaldo has scored nine goals in eight appearances for the Saudi outfit since his acrimonious exit from Manchester United earlier this year. He admits to being ‘amazed’ by the determination to grow the sport in the country.
The 38-year-old believes the Pro League could eventually become the fifth most competitive division in world football. That could see it topple the likes of Ligue 1, with the French top-tier widely believed to be among the top leagues in the world alongside the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A. Despite that, it is widely ranked as the lowest of the top five.
It is also the division in which Ronaldo’s arch-rival Lionel Messi plays his football for Paris Saint-Germain. “Saudi League is not like the English Premier League, but I am amazed at the positivity there,” Ronaldo said. “If they continue with the plan they want, it will be the fifth or sixth most competitive league in the world in the coming years.”
Ronaldo also opened up on leaving Manchester United in his press conference while on international duty. He made a dig at his former club in which he implied he was looking down at the Red Devils from the ‘top of the mountain’.
However, the legendary forward admits he went through a rare ‘bad phase’ at Old Trafford. A fiery tell-all interview with Piers Morgan saw Ronaldo depart by mutual consent in November.
“When we are at the top of the mountain, we often don’t see what’s below,” Ronaldo continued. “I went through a bad phase of my career, I have no problems admitting that. But life moves on. I understood who are your real friends in that difficult moment.
“As I said, I went through a bad phase in my career, probably for the first time. It was part of my growth. Now I am more prepared and this learning was important, I feel as though I’m a better man.”