RIYADH — Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he will continue as part of Al-Nassr Club in the Saudi Professional League for the next season despite the end of this year’s season with no titles for Al-Nassr.
In an interview published on Thursday by the Saudi Pro League (SPL), Ronaldo said: “I’m happy here and I want to continue here and I will continue here.”
Since his move to the Saudi league in January, Cristiano has made headlines with the biggest transfer in the history of sport. Five months later, Ronaldo ended his first heated season with Riyadh-based Al Nassr with no titles in a huge blow off to fans.
The club sacked head coach Rudi Garcia in the middle of the season. The president of the club is facing angry fans who are calling him to resign, pointing out that other foreign professionals had a bouncy season when it came to their performance.
After being silent for almost the whole season, Ronaldo spoke out his thoughts about the current Saudi season and his future. “My expectations was different when I came here. To be honest, I expect to win something this year but things will not always go the way we want or think.”
“My team improved a lot during the past five months, and in the whole league all the teams have also improved.” Next year I’m really positive and confident that things will change and go in a better way. Let’s believe in that and work on it,” he said in a clear sign that he will continue to remain with Al-Nassr in the upcoming season.
Speaking about the Saudi Pro league, Ronaldo said the league is very good and has many competitive teams and many good Arab players but it has to cash in on many opportunities to grow it more. “I think they need to improve the infrastructure, and even the referees and the VAR system can be quicker and I think other small things can be improved. In my opinion if they — Saudi league officials — continue doing the work they’re planning to do for the next five years this league can be among the top 5 leagues in the world.”
Ronaldo touched on how his teammates felt his discipline and hard work. “It’s not by coincidence to play for 20 years in such a high level. It’s not like they say the genetics but the other factors are important and what you do with your genetics. I think I helped many players on how they see fitness and the way of life to be a professional football player.”
On challenges he faced in the Saudi league, Ronaldo said: “In Europe we train in the morning but here we train in the afternoon or during night; that’s different. During Ramadan we trained at 10 in the night and it was a strange experience but I like to live these moments. It’s difficult one learns a lot in a different culture but I learn from it.”
The international soccer star lauded the Saudi fans, saying they really love football and love to take it as part of their life. As many big names are expected to come to the Saudi league during the next season, he welcomed them, saying it will improve the league no matter who come, big names or young players or even old names.
Describing life in Saudi Arabia, he spoke highly about the Kingdom and its people. “The Saudis live more in night, and it is fun and interesting. Riyadh is a beautiful city in the night and probably it’s one of the best places I’ve seen with high quality restaurants.”
Ronaldo continued: Most nice experience I had here was when I visited Boulevard World with my family. “So far living here is a very good experience. My family are happy. Schools for the kids are really good and the country is building a lot for its future. I like to try different things and that’s why I am here. The next trip I want to do is visiting AlUla because I know it’s very beautiful.
He thanked all the fans for supporting him every year in the pitch and outside. “I will be here as a part of your culture and I hope I please people with my performance and winning things,” Ronaldo added.
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