Following the conclusion of the World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Saudi Arabia was a watershed moment. The transfer to Al-Nassr fulfilled the Portuguese superstar’s pledge that his next move would surprise supporters. Ronaldo was left to ponder his options throughout the summer when Manchester United decided to release him from his contract following his candid interview with Piers Morgan. Since his departure, United’s season has gone from strength to strength, and they have finally won a big prize. But how is Ronaldo doing in the Middle East?
As one of the best players in the league, it isn’t surprising that Ronaldo has been a focal point in front of goal since arriving in the Middle East. The former Real Madrid star has only played eight league matches since his arrival at Al-Nassr, and he has already scored nine goals. In addition, the Portuguese superstar has also recorded two assists.
Many expected his move to Saudi Arabia to effectively end his international career, but Ronaldo dazzled for his native Portugal throughout the March international break. The superstar played both games in the EURO qualification, and he netted a very impressive four goals. His performance level remains extremely high, and it will be fascinating to see whether he continues to play a prominent role under Roberto Martinez for Portugal.
Al-Nassr League Performance
When Ronaldo arrived at Al-Nassr, the team was sitting top of the Pro League standings. By that measure, the transfer may not have worked out as many Middle East Sports betting experts would have expected. Since the Portuguese star’s arrival, Al-Nassr has won six of their nine matches, with one draw and a single defeat also being inflicted.
Those performances have seen Al-Nassr drop to second in the standings, as they now trail Al-Ittihad by a point at a crucial stage of the campaign. However, they still have time to time to address these concerns, as there are still eight rounds of fixtures to play in the Pro League. But, if Al-Nassr is to win the league, then they will likely need to claim victory in all remaining fixtures.
Ronaldo Has High Hopes For Saudi League
Ronaldo has addressed the media on a number of occasions since moving to the Pro League, which is hardly surprising given that he is the biggest star currently playing in the country. However, one of his boldest claims came last month, as he expressed his delight that he sees the Pro League becoming one of the most competitive in world football. Ronaldo did take a step back on the claims, as he said it’s unlikely that the Saudi league will be competitive with the Premier League, before claiming that it could become the fourth or fifth most competitive competition in the world.
According to Ronaldo’s claims, the Pro League may become more competitive than tournaments such as the Bundesliga or Ligue 1. It will most likely be years before these allegations are judged, given the competition in Saudi Arabia is now far below the standard that we have come to expect in the top European leagues. The greatest yardstick would be a comparison to America’s MLS, which has similar display quality.
Could We See More Stars In Saudi Arabia?
Ronaldo is the latest on a long list of stars that have moved to the Saudi Pro League, but his reputation does suggest that more world stars could join the Portuguese in the competition over the coming years. One name that has been muted with a move to Saudi Arabia for a long time has been Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo’s long-time rival is one of the nation’s ambassadors and has been rumored to be joining forces with the Portuguese as Saudi Arabia looks to make a bid for a future World Cup. However, Saudi fans may be waiting a while longer before the World Cup winner competes in the nation, as it has been widely reported that Messi is favoring a return to Barcelona after his contract at PSG expires later this year.
What Would Merit A Successful Season?
With just eight games remaining of the Pro League this term, all attention will now turn toward what would justify Ronaldo’s huge price tag in moving to Al-Nassr. Certainly, the only successful return would see the former Manchester United star ending the campaign with a top-flight title, but eight wins from eight games will be required to achieve that finish.