Home » Odion Ighalo wants Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, but has warning for star

Odion Ighalo wants Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia, but has warning for star

by David O'Neill

Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo has urged Cristriano Ronaldo to make the switch to the Saudi Arabian league following his termination by mutual consent from Manchester United.

The Portugal captain is looking for a new club and has been approached by Al Nassr and Al-Hilal, both of whom are willing to offer outrageous terms to tempt Ronaldo.

And Ighalo, who himself has played for both Manchester United and Al-Hilal, believes the league would benefit from the legendary goalscorer’s presence in the competition.

“I would love him to do that,” Ighalo told The Athletic. “I would love for him to come to Saudi because he would boost the league and add more fanbase to the league.

“People who aren’t already watching will start to engage with the league and see something they are missing.”

Ronaldo is understood to prefer a move to a European club, particularly one in the Champions League, but at this stage no such offers have been forthcoming.

No decision is expected before the end of Portugal’s World Cup campaign and the striker will be hoping to impress in Qatar so as to widen his options.

Ighalo certainly wants Ronaldo to join him in Saudi Arabia but understands that the forward’s intentions may be elsewhere.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is hugely ambitious, and I think he will want to play in a Champions League team and end his career well, but you never can say,” he says.

“He has a decision to make. I wish him all the best in that decision and hopefully he does come to Saudi Arabia.”

With Saudi Arabia looking to boost their sporting profile ahead of a bid for the 2030 World Cup, Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal has outlined his hopes to bring both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to the league.

Bringing Ronaldo to the table would be a huge step in the ambitious Saudi plan, and Ighalo has warned the free agent that he should not expect an easy ride.

“Before I came, I thought the league would be a pushover but now, having played for two seasons, I know it’s one of the toughest in the region.

“Al Hilal won the AFC Champions League in 2019 and 2021 and qualified for the Club World Cup. The league is growing faster than I expected. More foreign players, coaches and the federation is backing it and you can see that reflected in the Saudi team.”

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