Cristiano Ronaldo has caused an uproar in Ligue 1 after publicly claiming that the Saudi Pro League is of a higher standard. However, looking at the numbers, it cannot be said that the Portuguese forward is correct.
A few months ago, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to join Al-Nassr. The former Real Madrid player was one of the first major acquisitions for the Saudi Arabian state to develop its football. In addition to his enormous salary, CR7 is also paid to speak positively about Saudi Arabia and its league. Ronaldo enthusiastically carries out this task, and in the last few hours, he publicly claimed that the Saudi Pro League is better than Ligue 1! This quickly irritated a significant portion of French football fans, and beyond… However, when it comes to statistics, the five-time Golden Ball winner is mistaken.
Cristiano Ronaldo, the numbers prove him wrong
Opta has indeed unveiled a rather revealing ranking regarding the level of the two leagues. According to the Opta Power Rankings, which includes 24 teams from both Ligue 1 and the Saudi Pro League, only 5 teams from the Saudi Pro League are featured. The top-ranking Saudi team is Al-Hilal, positioned 8th, just behind Stade Rennais. Cristiano Ronaldo‘s team, Al-Nassr, is placed 11th, trailing behind Stade de Reims. This ranking provides a clearer perspective on the comparison between the two leagues. On social media, Cristiano Ronaldo is currently facing a wave of criticism, especially considering he has never played in Ligue 1. Some interpret his remarks as a direct jab at Lionel Messi, who played for PSG from 2021 to 2023. Messi, a world champion, had initially struggled and admitted to being surprised by the level of French football elite.