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Ronaldo and Messi: A Global Legacy Debate

Cristiano Ronaldo conveyed to the media on Monday his belief that the Saudi Professional League surpasses Major League Soccer. Here are the key details you should be aware of:

Following Al Nassr's 5-0 defeat against Celta Vigo in a friendly match, Cristiano Ronaldo, who currently plays for Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League, was questioned about the possibility of joining forces with Lionel Messi in Major League Soccer. Ronaldo swiftly responded, "No," emphasizing his belief that the Saudi Arabian league surpasses the American counterpart in terms of quality.

As the highest-earning player globally, Ronaldo earns a staggering £175 million ($217.4 million) annually. According to undisclosed sources from Al Nassr, the club will contribute only a fraction of that sum, with the majority being covered by the Saudi state. The club representatives preferred to remain anonymous to safeguard their positions.

In contrast, Lionel Messi recently inked a contract with Inter Miami that runs until 2025, with an option to extend it through the 2026 season.

His annual earnings are estimated to be around $50-60 million, inclusive of the value of his equity in the franchise.Major League Soccer commissioner, Don Garber, expressed his lack of concern on Sunday regarding the burgeoning influence of the Saudi Professional League in global football. Garber confidently stated that he does not feel threatened by its rise in the football landscape.

Comparing Ronaldo And Messi

The spontaneous nature of these comments doesn't diminish the inevitability of the question. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been inexorably linked in conversations for nearly two decades, dominating European club football season after season. The period from 2008 to 2017 stands as a remarkable stretch, during which the duo monopolized the prestigious Ballon d'Or trophy, leaving no room for a third player to claim the honor. While Messi went on to secure two additional trophies after Luka Modric ended their streak in 2018, bringing his total to seven, Ronaldo clinched his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2017, likely marking his final triumph in that regard. Furthermore, there remains a possibility that Messi could secure an eighth Ballon d'Or, thanks to his outstanding performances in the World Cup, culminating in a potential victory in December.

Although their careers will undoubtedly be remembered for their achievements in Europe and on the international stage, the parallel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has extended into the last seven months. Both players have chosen to add new chapters to their legacies by joining ambitious leagues outside of Europe, departing from the traditional paths of their illustrious careers. Ronaldo blazed the trail by becoming one of several superstars to make the move to Saudi Arabia, while Messi's arrival in Major League Soccer (MLS) aims to enhance the sport's popularity in the United States and leave a lasting impact, much like Pelé did before him.

Given their unparalleled global fame, the quality of these players' new leagues will inevitably be a topic of frequent debate, even long after they retire from the sport. During a recent roundtable discussion, MLS commissioner Don Garber expressed his confidence that the league will not be threatened by the Saudi Pro League's newfound investment. Garber's remarks reflect a steadfast belief in the strength and appeal of MLS, regardless of the growing influence of other leagues around the world.

Garber reminisced, saying, "I vividly recall when Major League Soccer was in a similar position, and skeptics questioned its growth and impact. The world viewed it as a peculiar American venture, dismissing any need for concern. However, MLS defied expectations and made a significant impact." Speaking as the co-chair of the World League Forum, Garber highlighted the Saudi Pro League's active participation within the global professional football community. He mentioned a recent meeting held in London, where the Saudi League was present. Emphasizing their status as a contributing member, Garber acknowledged that the Saudi League will continue to develop and evolve, striving to fulfill the aspirations of their fans and overall league objectives.


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