- Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to join Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr on a two-year deal
- This makes an end to his European career as one of the best-ever footballers
- SportsLeo takes a look at some of the best players that Cristiano Ronaldo will be facing in the Saudi Pro League
Cristiano Ronaldo signed a contract with Saudi Arabian team Al Nassr on Friday, which marked an interesting shift in his career.
Regardless of your opinion of Ronaldo, there is no disputing that he belongs among the all-time greats of football. After a spectacular 20-year career in Europe, he is now poised to square up against opponents of a different caliber.
Talisca, Vincent Aboubakar, Luiz Gustavo, and David Ospina are just a few of Al Nassr’s notable players in the Saudi Pro League; who else might he face?
1. Matheus Pereira
Matheus Pereira, a former star of West Brom and Sporting CP, is one of the greatest names in the Saudi Pro League.
The Brazilian player, 26, appeared to have what it takes to establish himself in Europe but made it known that he wanted to depart for the riches of Saudi football. He eventually signed with Al Hilal in the summer of 2021.
2. Moussa Marega
Another ex-player from Liga Portugal, Moussa Marega, leads the Al Hilal line with Pereira.
In 2021, the international player from Mali decided to end his stint with Porto and move to the Middle East, where he scored 12 goals in his first season.
3. Odion Ighalo
Odion Ighalo moved to Al Shabab when his loan to Manchester United expired in 2021, then he transferred to Al Hilal in January 2022.
Ighalo was the league’s top scorer this season before the World Cup break, scoring 24 goals in 31 appearances in his rookie year. He is the true Golden Boot rival.
4. Salem Al-Dawsari
International audiences became aware of Salem Al-Dawsari during the 2022 FIFA World Cup as he netted one of the goals of the tournament to lead Saudi Arabia to victory over Argentina in the opening round of group stage fixtures.
He’s already seen off Lionel Messi – can Al-Dawsari add Ronaldo to his list of victims?
Michael, who gained fame in Brazil with Goias and Flamengo before making a costly move in January 2022, completes the list of Al Hilal celebrities.
He played with the Flamengo team that won the Brazilian championship in 2020 and added a second league crown with Al Hilal in 2021.
6. Ever Banega
A few eyebrows were raised when Ever Banega left Sevilla in 2020 to join Al Shabab. The Argentina midfielder was still shining in La Liga but opted for one more lucrative contract as he approaches the twilight of his career.
Now 34, Banega is a regular source of both goals and assists in Saudi football.
7. Aaron Boupendza
The Gabonese international Aaron Boupendza had a successful season in 2020–21 with Turkish club Hatayspor, which led to moves to Qatar in 2021 and Saudi Arabia in 2022.
Before the World Cup break, the dynamic 26-year-old was one of the top creators in the division.
8. Grzegorz Krychowiak
At the World Cup, Grzegorz Krychowiak started each of Poland’s four games, including the group-stage matchup with Saudi Arabia.
The 32-year-old, who has played for Al Shabab in the past, was formerly with PSG and West Brom.
9. Carlos Junior
Brazilian winger Carlos Junior, who had six goals in seven games before to the break, is tied for first place in the league in terms of scoring with Ighalo.
He played for clubs in Portugal like Rio Ave and Santa Clara, but his time with Atletico Mineiro in Brazil is what made him most famous.
10. Helder Costa
Nuno Espirito Santo, the manager of Helder Costa’s former team, Wolves, lured the winger to Al Ittihad by signing him on a season-long loan from Leeds over the summer.
He hasn’t scored yet this year, in contrast to teammate Ahmed Hegazi, who left West Brom for Al Ittihad in 2021.
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