Ronaldo 'Salutes' Himself for Mane, Neymar, Others Joining Saudi Pro League

Ronaldo 'Salutes' Himself for Mane, Neymar, Others Joining Saudi Pro League

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
updated at September 12, 2023 at 3:17 PM
In this article:
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logoFBrazil logo
Sadio Mané logo
S. Mané
Al Nassr FC logoFSenegal logo
Karim Benzema logo
Al-Ittihad Club logoFFrance logo
  • Cristiano Ronaldo has saluted himself as a trailblazer for elite footballers who chose to leave Europe
  • The former Manchester United and Juventus ace stunned the world with his switch to Saudi Arabia
  • Neymar Junior, Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, and a host of others have since joined him in the SPL

Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in a little 'chest-beating' for pioneering the move of elite football stars swapping Europe for the Saudi Pro League.

Ronaldo made a remarkable and somewhat audacious decision to conclude his European career by joining Al-Nassr in December of the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Karim Benzema, Saudi Pro League, Neymar
Cristiano Ronaldo has expressed delight in inspiring stars like Benzema, Neymar and Sadio Mane to move to the Saudi Pro League. Photo credit: @AlNassrFC_EN @ittihad_en @Alhilal_EN
Source: Twitter

The 38-year-old's move came after his contract with Premier League club, Manchester United was mutually terminated following an explosive interview with renowned British broadcaster, Piers Morgan.

Fast forward to the present summer and a multitude of prominent football stars have followed in the five-time Ballon d'Or recipient's footsteps to the oil-rich nation, marking a historic transfer window.

According to CNBC, clubs in the Saudi League collectively spent a staggering 954 million euros ($1 billion) on transfer fees.

Among the marquee transfers to the SPL are former Barcelona and PSG superstar Neymar Jr., who joined Al-Hilal, while the reigning Ballon d'Or holder Karim Benzema made the switch from Real Madrid to Al-Ittihad. Additionally, Sadio Mane opted to join Ronaldo at Al-Nassr.

Considering the superstar calibre of signings in the Saudi top flight, the Portuguese veteran highlighted his own contribution to reshaping the narrative surrounding footballers transitioning from Europe to the Middle East.

"I knew this would happen; it's a privilege to change the culture and football, to have great players and it makes me proud. I was the pioneer and I feel proud of that," he said as quoted by ESPN.

Ronaldo hailed as role model for Saudi youth

In a related article, Sports Brief underscored a former Chelsea technical director's praise for the Al-Nassr star, acknowledging Ronaldo as more than a player.

Michael Emenalo said the Portuguese star continues to captivate audiences across the globe, yet it is his exemplary ethic and lifestyle which make him a role model.

Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe photo
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe
Godwin Nii Armah Tagoe is a Ligue 1, Bundesliga, and La Liga editor with five-year experience. He previously worked with Sports Corna and 360SportsGH.