Cristiano Ronaldo says Saudi Pro League has ‘bad habits’ which must change after Jordan Henderson exit

Cristiano Ronaldo says Saudi Pro League has 'bad habits' which must change after Jordan Henderson exit

Featured Image Credit: Getty/ Globe Soccer Awards

Cristiano Ronaldo has stated that the Saudi Pro League needs to ditch bad habits following the exit of Jordan Henderson to Ajax from Al Ettifaq.

The Saudi league has been littered with controversy since they made global headlines with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2023 following the Qatar World Cup.

The move from Manchester United to Al Nassr has been a fruitful one for the Portuguese captain as he was football’s top scorer in 2023 with 54 goals for club and country.

Ronaldo started a trend in Saudi, with the 2023 summer transfer window being record-breaking for the league as they acquired some huge names from across Europe as they bid to become a global powerhouse.

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Ronaldo was joined in the Saudi Pro League by the likes of Karim Benzema, Nglolo Kante, Roberto Firmino, and most notably Neymar Jr who joined from PSG.

Despite this influx in talent, it hasn’t all run smoothly in Saudi, with player morale and game attendance constantly making the headlines for the wrong reasons.

Another of the key summer signings, Jordan Henderson, recently cancelled his contract with Steven Gerrard’s Al Ettifaq after just six months to return to Europe and sign with Ajax.

Henderson isn’t the only player with regrets, as former Celtic winger, Jota also looked set to depart after just one month but has since remained at Al Ittihad for now.

Ronaldo has been by far the biggest voice in support of the Saudi Pro League but hasn’t shied away from the areas the division needs to improve to avoid the current issues.

Ronaldo- Getty
Ronaldo- Getty

The 38-year-old spoke on the current issues but emphasised the positive direction the league is heading during the Globe Soccer Awards.

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“There are many factors which apply to improve the league. As I said before, they have many things to improve,” Ronaldo said.

“But I think with powerful people behind to help change a little bit the culture of football, the bad habits – I think we’re going to reach a point where the people in Saudi will be proud.

“The investment there is huge. So why not believe it? In Saudi, even in Dubai, things change and the world has changed, so they deserve opportunities,” Added the forward.

Roma striker Romelu Lukaku also recently made a bold prediction for the Saudi Pro League, stating: “For me personally, I think in the next two years it will be one of the best leagues in the world if not the best”

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