After Cristiano Ronaldo’s Daring Claim, European Leagues Torn Apart With Saudi Pro League Comparisons by Ex-Real Madrid GM

Published 09/06/2023, 10:15 AM EDT

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Ever since Cristiano Ronaldo made his high-profile move to Al Nassr, the landscape of Saudi’s soccer culture has changed. The main reason for this change was the impact that followed. CR7’s move was followed by many top European players, including Karim Benzema and Neymar Jr. joining SPL clubs. The common denominator behind these moves, however, was these players’ enormous salaries, which irked many European stakeholders. However, Real Madrid’s former GM’s comments likening Europe of 20 years before to Saudi has blown netizens’ mind.

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Former Argentina soccer player Jorge Valdano, in a recent interview, defended Saudi’s exorbitant spending by drawing parallels between European countries’ antics over the last two decades. As per Valdano, Europe should hence not get insecure about SPL’s meteoric rise.

Jorge Valdano draws parallels between Europe’s exploitation of South America and other continents with SPL’s meteoric rise

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A couple of months ago, Cristiano Ronaldo made an audacious statement to the press. As per the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, the European Leagues except the Premier League has lost a lot of quality. He then boldly predicted that those talents among others would join the SPL over a year’s span, taking the Saudi League above Turkey and Holland. Back then, this audacious comment seemed bold, but CR7 is now being proven right as many SPL clubs are actively poaching numerous high-profile European talents.

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This mass exodus of talent has left a sour taste in the mouths of European soccer stakeholders. Hence, many over the last few months have publicly criticized Saudi’s money-dangling approach to lure players. However, in a rare instance, a European stakeholder has defended the SPL’s moves this summer. Jorge Valdano, in his latest interview, reminded Europe that what Saudi is doing to Europe right now is the same thing that Europe has been doing to Africa and South America.

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From Lionel Messi to Ronaldo to Didier Drogba, most European soccer icons have their roots traced outside the continent. Valdano hence believes that Europe’s outburst over Saudi is unfair and hypocritical. “Europe must remember that they have been the Saudi Arabia of the last 20 years, draining the most important continents of all their talents,” said the Argentine icon.

The former Real Madrid GM also had an interesting response to Toni Kroos for his public outburst on Gabriel Veiga.

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“You have to be in the boy’s place” – Valdano defends Gabriel Veiga’s shocking SPL move

Last month, 21-year-old Gabriel Veiga stunned the soccer world when he chose SPL over top European clubs. This led to Los Blancos midfielder Toni Kroos labeling the youngster’s move as “embarrassing” considering his young age. Valdano, however, defended Veiga and said that we don’t know what’s going in Veiga’s head.

While Valdano concurred that Gabriel’s decision amounted to practically sacrificing glory for financial gain, he thought Toni’s remarks were unjustified. “Kroos has said that it is a shame, and from the footballer’s vocation the term is well used, but you have to be in the boy’s place when something of that magnitude happens,” said the ex-Real Madrid GM.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Soccer Stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Make a Huge Assist for Esports Space

Do you agree with Valdano? Let us know your thoughts in the comments sections below!

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Written by:

Suresh Menon

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Suresh Menon is a soccer writer at EssentiallySports with over 400 articles to his name. Being an ace defender back in his school days, Suresh grew up admiring the famed ‘BBC’ of Juventus which is why the Italian club is his favorite. His love for soccer from an early age combined with his flair for communication is the reason why he decided to pursue sports journalism at ES.
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Edited by:

Akash Pandhare

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