Cristiano Ronaldo confirms decision on Saudi Arabia future
Cristiano Ronaldo has played down talk that he will leave Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr this summer.
The forward left Manchester United by mutual consent in November 2022 after criticising the club at length in an interview with Piers Morgan.
Just as was the case in the summer of 2022 though, Ronaldo found himself short of suitors in Europe and ended up heading to the Middle East.
He signed for Saudi Pro League side Al Nassr, who were top of the table at the time of his arrival. However, a dip in form throughout the spring saw them lose control of the title race, with Al Ittihad - managed by former Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo - finishing in first instead.
Saudi Arabia is beginning to become a prime destination for star footballers towards the end of their careers. 90min understands Lionel Messi has an offer on the table from Al Hilal, while Ronaldo's former teammate Karim Benzema was close to joining Al Ittihad but has now changed his mind and will stay at Real Madrid.
Speaking to the SPL, Ronaldo affirmed his commitment to Al Nassr and praised how the league is growing.
"The league is very good. But I think we have many, many opportunities to still grow," he said. "The league is competitive. We have very good teams, very good Arab players, but they need to improve a little bit more the infrastructure.
"Even the referees, the VAR system, should be a little quicker. I think other small things they need to improve.
"But I am happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here. And in my opinion if they continue to do the work that they want to do here, for the next five years, I think the Saudi league can be a top five league in the world.
"If they are coming, big players and big names, young players, 'old players,' they are very welcome because if that happens, the league will improve a little bit."
Speaking on how Al Nassr's season fizzled out, Ronaldo added: "Well, my expectation was a little bit different. To be honest I expected to win something this year, but it is not always the way we think or the way we want, sometimes we need passion, consistency, and persistence to achieve the best things.
"So, I still believe that next year we will improve a lot, let us say in the last five or six months, the team has improved a lot, even the league, all the teams improved.
"It takes time sometimes, but if you believe and you think it is your goal, I think everything is possible. I expected to win something this year, but we didn't, but next year I am really positive and confident that things will change, and we go in a better way. So,