Ronaldo Benzema Saudi Pro League HIC 16:9GOAL

Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and more superstars on the way: Is the Saudi Pro League a threat to Europe's elite or a well-funded retirement league?

When Cristiano Ronaldo claimed that the Saudi Pro League will become an elite competition "in the coming years", the obvious reaction was, 'Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?' Ronaldo is being paid ridiculously well to play for Al-Nassr. But he's also effectively serving as the poster boy for a league - and indeed a country - with grand ambitions.

In that context, he's actually been admirably open about some of the challenges facing the Saudi Arabian game, particularly its infrastructural issues. But Ronaldo remains intent on changing how the Saudi Pro League is perceived, especially in Europe.

"I think you should look at it in a different way," he told reporters in March. "I'm not going to say that the league is a Premier League, that would be a lie."

But is Ronaldo telling the truth when he says that the Saudi top flight will soon rank "among the top five leagues in the world"?

Certainly, the potential is there, because the money is there, and Ronaldo has just been joined in Saudi Arabia by former Real Madrid team-mate Karim Benzema, the current Ballon d'Or holder. The promise of one last colossal contract is understandably difficult for any professional to resist.

But will the Pro League prove anything other than a lucrative retirement home for ageing superstars? Can it really attract younger players at the peak of their powers?

GOAL investigates all below...

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