Cristiano Ronaldo believes that he was the catalyst for Saudi Arabia’s huge summer spending spree which has seen a host of superstar players join their league, all while Lionel Messi has moved to the MLS

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Cristiano Ronaldo has declared that the Saudi Pro League is “much better” than the MLS in a fresh dig towards eternal rival Lionel Messi.

Messi recently snubbed a lucrative move to the Middle East as well as a potential return to his beloved Barcelona in favour of joining MLS franchise Inter Miami, the club co-founded by David Beckham, and was unveiled at their stadium on Sunday. Ronaldo, meanwhile, signed for Saudi side Al-Nassr last December and has boosted the league’s global appeal with his presence, although the division still widely considered to be weaker than its counterpart in the United States.

But that could all change once the summer transfer window closes. Ex- Manchester United hero Ronaldo has taken credit for his own club and rival teams being able to bring in superstars such as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Ruben Neves and more, additions which should all increase the league’s overall quality.

“The Saudi league is much better than the United States,” Ronaldo declared, speaking to reporters after playing the first half of Al-Nassr’s 5-0 friendly defeat to Spanish side Celta Vigo. “My decision to go to Saudi was 100 per cent crucial for clubs to bring in new top players. 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].”

Ronaldo, 38, also claimed that soon enough the Saudi division would overtake some of Europe’s leagues, adding: “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.”

Cristiano Ronaldo has played in Saudi Arabia since January Cristiano Ronaldo has played in Saudi Arabia since January (


Stringer/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Lionel Messi is set to make his debut for Inter Miami soon Lionel Messi is set to make his debut for Inter Miami soon (


Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

_**Have your say! Which league is better - the MLS or Saudi Arabia’s? Let us know your verdict in thecomments section. ** _

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner went on to confirm that he has no plans to return to European football at club level, ruling out a return to his home continent whilst criticising its quality. “I’m 100 per cent sure I won’t return to any European club,” Ronaldo vowed, having spent the first two decades of his incredible career in Europe.

“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 a 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.”