Cristiano Ronaldo overtakes Messi as highest-paid athlete 1:18

(CNN) -- Cristiano Ronaldo admits he did not expect to end the season empty-handed at Al Nassr, but the Portuguese striker says he is happy in Saudi Arabia and hopes other big players will follow him in the league for next season.

Ronaldo signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Al Nassr that media outlets estimate at more than 200 million euros ($220.16 million), and debuted in January.

He scored 14 goals in 16 games, but they were not enough to help his team win the Saudi Pro League (SPL) title, in which Al Nassr finished second, behind Al Ittihad.

The 38-year-old, who missed the final day with injury, said the league was very competitive but there were plenty of opportunities to grow.

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"We have very good teams, very good Arab players, but the infrastructure has to improve a little more. Even the referees, the VAR system, should be a bit faster," he said in an interview for the SPL.


"But I'm happy here, I want to stay here, I'll still be here."

Ronaldo said he had adapted to life at the club, although there were many differences from his time in Europe, where he played for elite teams such as Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid.

The Portuguese striker has had to adapt to life in a new country.

"In Europe we train more in the morning and here we train in the afternoon, or at night. When Ramadan starts, we train at 10 o'clock at night. It's very strange," he added.
Since Ronaldo's arrival, he has linked other top players with the Saudi league, and Lionel Messi has received a formal offer to join Al-Hilal next season.

Karim Benzema, former teammate of Ronaldo and Ballon d'Or, would have received an offer of more than 100 million euros from Al Ittihad.

"If they come, big players and big names, young players, 'old players', they are very welcome," Ronaldo said.

"If that happens, the league will get a little better. Age is not important."

Cristiano Ronaldo