Emily Wilson·1 June 2023
Emily Wilson·1 June 2023
Saudi Pro League has made major headlines this week as some of the game’s biggest stars look set to join the league but one man is already there – at not leaving anytime soon.
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al Nassr in January, and after reports suggested the 38-year-old was looking for an exit after only six months, he’s assured he wants to stay.
“I am happy here, I want to continue here, I will continue here,’ said the forward in an interview on Thursday.
“I will be part of your world, your culture, I will be here, I hope I make the people enjoy through my games, my performance, and to win things, but again, thank you for welcoming me, and I will try to give my best during the time that I will be here.”
The ex-Manchester United player admitted it has been an adjustment since leaving England at the beginning of the calendar year. Still, it’s nothing he can’t settle into.
“In Europe we train more in the morning, but here we train in the afternoon, or evening and in Ramadan we train at 10 at night – so this is so strange. But as I tell you these situations are part of an experience, memories.
“I like to live these moments because you learn with these things. It is difficult, but it is nothing I have not seen before. My experience so far is that Saudi fans they really love football and like to live the life and it is good and I am so happy until now.
Since leaving the Premier League, the Portugal international has scored 14 goals in 16 games for his current club. Al Nassr finished as runners-up to Al Ittihad – who are heavily linked with a move for Karim Benzema.
“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, let us believe that and work on that.”
Alongside Ronaldo and potentially Benzema, Lionel Messi has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia with his Paris Saint Germain departure now confirmed.