Saudi League Better Than MLS, Truth? Opinion? Or Dig At Messi?

Cristiano Ronaldo now playing at Al Nasar in the Saudi Pro League has claimed that the League is better than the MLS.

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

Ronaldo: The Guardian

Is this the truth, an opinion, or a direct dig at Lionel Messi?

When the Portuguese maestro was in his first stint at Manchester United, he was destined to be one of, or if not, the greatest player in the world, that was until another Argentine superstar was being brought up at Barcelona.

And when Ronaldo arrived at Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, their rivalry began to take shape, as both of them were not only competing for the LA LIGA title and Champions League but the Ballon d’Or as well.


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The MLS was established in 1993 and was brought in to promote professional soccer in the USA and Canada. The Saudi League has a much deeper history, dating back to 1976. It too has had an influence in promoting the game in Saudi Arabia, as well as hosting international tournaments such as the Arab Cup and Asian Cup.

In hindsight, the Saudi PRO League has faced its own challenges such as the overall quality of competition throughout the League not being as intense as the MLS.

The MLS has also been a league where established stars such as David Beckham and Thierry Henry have spent the twilight of their career.

The Saudi PRO League consists of 18 teams, while the MLS has 15.

So why is Ronaldo insisting on this point? Is he trying to be an ambassador? Is it to do with the Messi rivalry?

The 38-year-old has no future plans of moving away from Suadi Arabia, despite still being attracted to the top flight of English football.

“European football has lost a lot of quality. The only valid one and still doing good is the (English) Premier League. They’re way ahead of all the other leagues.”

Ronaldo:The Guardian

Now, imagine you are a Real Madrid or Juventus fan, would you not find that a bit insulting considering he is an ex-player of your club?

But then everyone has the right to voice their own opinion, which is exactly what Ronaldo is doing.

But saying ‘the only valid one is the Premier League,’ is a little disheartening for the fans of those Leagues as they have paid lots to come and watch the Portuguese star in action.

That’s why I think it’s important to show respect to every League in the world regardless of your opinion.

Coming back to Ronaldo’s rivalry with Messi, it kind of feels as if they are trying to brag about each other as to who can claim more fame in another country.

As a football fan, this is quite entertaining to watch, as you want to see two greats of the game brag about their views and try to unnerve each other, it’s the most beautiful thing about player rivalries.

But with CR7 moving outside Europe, it will now be difficult for fans to watch him play live on TV, as they may not be able to adjust to the timings due to reasons such as school or work.

Suadi Arabia is three hours ahead of the Uk, so some fans may be able to watch him play, but not all.

And as a result of this, they will have to either steam the matches or watch highlights on youtube, which is not the same as watching it live.

The Saudi Pro League telecasts on Shahid, which is £6.41 or just over $8 per year.

While Apple TV has the rights to broadcast the MLS in the UK, it costs a total of £6.99 per month, which is approximately £84 per year.

One other interesting fact is that the viewing figures of the Saudi League have increased from 800,000 to 12,000,000 per game since Ronaldo arrived at Al Nassr. It goes to show what kind of impact a superstar has when he arrives in a new league.

And this impact influences more players, such as Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kanté to join the party and showcase their talent in another part of the world.

The MLS has average viewing figures of 343,000 per game, however, that may increase now that the little magician is in Miami.

So on the debate of whether the Suad Pro League is better than the MLS, it’s probably worth saying that the MLS is the better league because the quality of football is at a higher standard, and the market value is greater at the present moment, but that could change after Ronaldo’s arrival.

For more information on the MLS and Saudi Pro League, visit World In Sport.

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