Cristiano Ronaldo: ‘I won’t return to any European club’

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RIYADH: Portuguese star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has affirmed that his time in Europe has ended as he believes the quality of football and the level of play in Europe has dropped over the years.

The 38-year-old was heavily linked to a return to the Premier League with Newcastle United on a loan deal. But now he has put all rumours to rest by assuring he will continue to play in the Saudi Pro League.

“I’m 100 per cent sure I won’t return to any European club. I’m 38 years old. And European football has lost a lot of quality. The only valid one and still doing good is the Premier League. They’re way ahead of all the other leagues,” Ronaldo said during a press conference as quoted by ESPN.

While Ronaldo continues his stint with Al Nassr in the SPL, his arch-rival Lionel Messi has decided to play in Major League Soccer (MLS) for Inter Miami.

After Messi joined MLS, Ronaldo came out to say that the SPL is better than MLS and that in a year or two it will overtake the Turkish and Dutch League.

“The Saudi league is better than MLS. 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. I opened the way to the Saudi league, and now all the players are coming here,” Ronaldo added.

This summer, a number of high-profile European players have followed Ronaldo’s lead and signed for SPL clubs. Karim Benzema, Marcelo Brozovic, N’Golo Kante and Roberto Firmino have all signed deals to play in Saudi. Former Inter Milan player and World Cup finalist Marcelo Brozovic also shared the field with Ronaldo on Monday after joining Al Nassr on July 3.

Al Nassr will play their second friendly in Portugal on Friday, against Benfica. Ronaldo is looking to get in form against the Portuguese club ahead of the 2023/24 season.

“The plan was for me to play 45 minutes today. Against Benfica, I might play 60 or 70 minutes. It is better to fine-tune the machine little by little to reach the best form,” Ronaldo signed off. (ANI)

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