Mike Lahoud, a former MLS star, criticizes Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments praising the Saudi Pro League.
“Ronaldo has been smoking shisha too much,” Lahoud said on CBS Sports on July 18th. “It’s absurd to claim that the Saudi Pro League will surpass the top leagues in the Netherlands and Turkey within a year.”
Regarding Ronaldo’s remarks that the Saudi Pro League is superior to MLS, the 37-year-old former midfielder asserts that Ronaldo is still preoccupied with Lionel Messi, who recently joined MLS’s Inter Miami. “As soon as Messi talked about bringing world football to North America for the 2026 World Cup, that’s what we’re seeing from Ronaldo,” added the former Chivas USA and Philadelphia Union player.
Shisha is a type of herb originating from the Arab region, which directly affects the respiratory system of users and induces a sense of euphoria. Lahoud’s metaphorical reference is aimed at criticizing Ronaldo, suggesting that the Portuguese forward is “delusional.” In a recent controversial interview, Ronaldo also stated that he would not return to play in Europe, except for the Premier League, as he believes most top domestic leagues have declined. The 38-year-old star also claimed that Serie A was “dead” before his revitalization with Juventus in 2018.
Lahoud refutes this perspective and advises Ronaldo to remember how he caused chaos at Juventus and how the club is no longer the same in terms of quality.
Ronaldo previously scored 145 goals for Manchester United, 450 goals for Real Madrid, and 101 goals for Juventus. His illustrious collection includes 32 team titles, including five Champions League trophies, three Premier League titles, two La Liga titles, and two Serie A titles. However, since 2021, he has not experienced the joy of winning a championship.
Due to disagreements, Ronaldo parted ways with Manchester United in November 2022. Since the beginning of 2023, he has been playing in the Saudi Pro League for Al Nassr, earning a staggering salary of $200 million per year. Ronaldo scored 14 goals in 19 matches during the second half of the 2022-2023 season, but Al Nassr finished as runners-up in the Saudi Pro League, in addition to reaching the semi-finals of the Saudi Super Cup and King’s Cup.
Nevertheless, Ronaldo’s presence has significantly contributed to attracting several European stars to the Saudi Pro League this summer. Notable names include Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves, Sergey Milinkovic-Savic, Roberto Firmino, and Edouard Mendy.
Al Hilal FC even approached Messi with an offer of $400 million per year. However, the Argentine forward declined and chose to play in the United States for Inter Miami.
According to the Team Form website, the MLS is currently ranked 56th on the list of world’s top national leagues. The Saudi Pro League is placed 68th, while the Turkish league ranks 8th, and the Dutch league ranks 13th. The top seven positions are currently held by the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Brazilian league, Ligue 1, and the Portuguese league.