April 1, 2023
What can Ronaldo expect from Saudi Pro League football?


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — As Cristiano Ronaldo shortly factors out, he has spent his storied profession taking part in for Saudi Arabia. Europe’s “most important” clubs.

This has additionally meant taking part in on the planet’s hottest leagues in England, Spain and Italy for Manchester United, Actual Madrid and Juventus.

Her Transferred to Saudi Arabian club Al NassrNonetheless, it indicators a step into the unknown.

The Saudi Professional League is unlikely to be on the radar of nearly all of its loyal followers, however after signing a 2 1-2 deal, the subsequent and presumably the final chapter of his profession can be performed right here. annual contract with Al Nasr.

He can even hope to compete within the Asian Champions League subsequent season if his new membership qualifies for the largest competitors in Asian soccer.

“I am executed in Europe,” Ronaldo mentioned when introduced by Al Nassr in Riyadh on Tuesday.

However what can the 37-year-old, five-time Champions League winner count on from Saudi soccer?

“I do know the league may be very aggressive. Individuals do not find out about it, however I do know as a result of I watched loads of video games,” he mentioned.

He joins a staff that the majority lately gained the title in 2019 and goals to develop into Saudi champions for the tenth time.

The Saudi Professional League in its present kind was based in 2008, however the rivalry dates again to 1976. The present champion, Al Hilal, is probably the most profitable staff to have gained 18 titles and 4 Asian Champions Leagues.

Like Al Nassr, it’s primarily based within the Saudi capital Riyadh and was linked to a transfer for Ronaldo. Though Saudi soccer shouldn’t be extensively watched within the western world, it’s fairly fashionable in Arab nations.

In line with official statistics, greater than 1.25 million spectators watched the video games within the 2021-22 season, with greater than 215 million tv viewers throughout this marketing campaign.

Ronaldo is not the one worldwide participant to journey to Saudi Arabia with Brazilian ex-Bayern Munich midfielders Luiz Gustavo and Al Nassr, in addition to former Arsenal and Napoli goalkeeper David Ospina.

Former Manchester United ahead Odion Ighalo performs for Al Hilal.

Ever Banega, who performed for Atletico Madrid, Valencia, Inter and Sevilla, is now with Al Shabab.

Statistics produced final yr indicated that there have been 128 worldwide gamers within the 16-team league.

However none of them are as massive as Ronaldo.

“Cristiano is among the finest gamers on the planet. Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia is a legend in soccer historical past. “It’s an honor for Al Nassr to host him, as it’s for me,” Al Nassr coach Rudi Garcia mentioned on Tuesday.

Saudi officers and followers will hope that Ronaldo’s arrival will encourage extra elite gamers to comply with in his footsteps – and this might be his lasting legacy past the trophies he has gained throughout his time within the nation.

Extra AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

at James Robson https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

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