Grigor Krikoviak, youth midfielder, said that Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nasr club drew the attention of the entire world to Saudi Arabia, suggesting that Robert Lewandowski – his colleague in the Poland national team – play with him in the same team in the future.
Krikoviak, 33, moved to Al Shabab on loan from Russian Krasnodar, and his loan period ends at the end of this month.
“Ronaldo contributed to the development of the Saudi League.”
The former Paris Saint-Germain and Seville player said that the transfer of Portuguese star Ronaldo to Al-Nasr after terminating his contract with Manchester United at the end of last year contributed to the development of the Saudi Professional League.
“Cristiano is a great player, one of the best in history. His joining Al-Nassr was a wonderful decision on the sports level, but it is like a media machine, which made the eyes of the entire world turn towards Saudi Arabia, and this is a huge success.
And the Saudi League teams became interested in many stars in Europe. After Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, former Real Madrid captain and Ballon d’Or winner, joined the league champions, Al Ittihad.
🎥 Watch | A great and warm reception was given to the French star Karim Benzema @Benzema When introducing a new player in the ranks of the Saudi Federation 🇸🇦 @ittihad The champion, where the huge crowd created a wonderful festive atmosphere at the Radiant Jewel Stadium in Jeddah
🎙️ Report | Bilal Qiza @BilalGuiza pic.twitter.com/edFgXgnanv
– beIN SPORTS news (@beINSPORTSNews) June 8, 2023
When asked about Krikoviak, who played about 100 international matches with Poland, about the possibility of Lewandowski, the Barcelona striker, moving to the Saudi League in the future, he said, “I suggest that he play with me in Al-Shabab.”
But Krikoviak, who played 30 matches with Al-Shabab in the league and scored 3 goals last season, does not know if he will continue with his club, but he aims to stay in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Shabab started the league race strongly and competed with Al-Ittihad and Al-Nasr at the top, before retreating in the second half after returning from the 2022 World Cup break, to finish the league in fourth place behind Al-Hilal.
“The season was split up by the World Cup and it was difficult to play with the same intensity and physicality throughout the season,” Krikoviak said. For me the season was good, and it would have been better if we had a normal preparation period.
He attributed the speed of his adaptation in youth to the presence of his former colleague in Seville, Argentine midfielder Ever Banega.
“I worked hard throughout the preparation period, so I was ready from the start,” he added. Ever is a great player and person, and of course his support helped me adapt a lot.”
And about his future with the youth, the Polish player said, “I have not decided my future yet. I received many offers and my main goal is to continue in Saudi Arabia. I got to know good people, and played in front of great fans here. We are still talking to the club president now. I hope to make up my mind next week.”
📺 – All that the legend “Cristiano Ronaldo” presented with #victory 💛.
– Mohannad ! (@4HNOi) June 16, 2023
Krikoviak agreed with Ronaldo that the Saudi league will be among the 5 most powerful league competitions in the world in the future, despite the different levels between the first 5 teams in the table and the rest of the participants.
“Those responsible for developing the league are doing a great job, so I’m sure all teams will be better next season,” he said. Development takes time. Saudi fans love football, and the goal is for the competition to be among the five major league competitions in the world. In my opinion, the current transfer market demonstrates this, and it is not just slogans.
He added, “The presence of the best players guarantees fun and enthusiasm for the fans and players. If you play against great footballers it improves your level and benefits everyone.”
The Saudi Al Hilal was aiming to sign Lionel Messi after his contract with Paris Saint-Germain expired, but the captain of Argentina, the 2022 World Cup champion in Qatar, preferred to move to the American Inter Miami.