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Soccer News of Monday, 20 November 2023


Steven Gerrard snubs Messi as GOAT, explains why he followed Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia

Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as his 'GOAT'. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard labelled Cristiano Ronaldo as his 'GOAT'.

Al Ettifaq manager Steven Gerrard hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as "the GOAT," shedding light on his own journey to Saudi Arabia and how the Portuguese star influenced his decision.

Ronaldo's surprising yet lucrative move to the Gulf region on the back of a turbulent second spell with Manchester United led to his historic transfer to Al-Nassr in January.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's transfer acted as a catalyst, attracting numerous A-list players and managers to the Saudi Pro League, including Steven Gerrard.

Reflecting on his decision to become Al Ettifaq's head coach, the Liverpool legend credited Ronaldo for inspiring his shift to a new coaching challenge in the Middle East, lauding him as the greatest of all time.

“The arrival of ‘The GOAT’ as we call him, Cristiano (Ronaldo), arriving in January obviously (was) a huge signing,” the former Liverpool midfielder said in an interview with the Saudi Pro League via GOAL.

“He still had a lot of football to offer. So, from afar, for six months, I was looking at Cristiano Ronaldo’s results in the league, watching some games and watching some highlights.
Gerrard, whose Ettifaq side occupies the seventh spot in the SPL per Sofascore, highlighted Ronaldo's impact, emphasizing how the Portuguese icon elevated the Saudi top division into a global spectacle, captivating football enthusiasts worldwide.

"I think from that moment on, the league around the world had become a very popular talking point for everyone. After Cristiano’s arrival, even more big-name signings, talents and skill sets were joining the league.

He also acknowledged that observing Ronaldo's influence on the SPL during his hiatus from coaching after leaving Aston Villa played a pivotal role in his choice to relocate to Saudi Arabia.

"At the time, it coincided with me being out of the game and looking for my next opportunity, so I was fascinated from afar looking in, and when my agent brought a couple of opportunities in the Gulf area at the time, I was fascinated to explore them."