LISBON: Cristiano Ron­aldo said he has been surprised by the level of competitiveness in the Saudi Pro League since joining Al Nassr in January.

“I think you should look at the (Saudi Pro League) in a different way,” he told reporters. “I’m not going to say that the league is a Premier League, that would be a lie.

“But it’s a very competitive league that I’m positively surprised by, a very balanced league and good teams.

“I am sure that in the coming years the league will be ... the fourth, fifth or sixth most competitive league in the world,” added Ronaldo, who moved to Al-Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year contract worth a reported 200 million euros ($214.71 million).

Ronaldo is part of the Portugal squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The 38-year-old, who was benched by former coach Fernando Santos for their last two games at the World Cup, would make his 197th appearance for Portugal if he plays against Liechtenstein late on Thursday, surpassing Kuwait’s Bader Al-Mutawa as the most capped player in men’s football.

“I like to break records, I have broken lot of records ...,” said Ronaldo, who debuted for Portugal in 2003.

“In addition to being the best scorer ever for national teams, I was also looking to be the international player with the most caps.”

Portugal, who are now coached by Roberto Martinez, are in the same qualifying group as Bosnia & Herzeg­ovina, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slov­akia and Liechtenstein.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2023

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