Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo Bleacher Report Football/Twitter

Is Major League Soccer (MLS) "easier" than the Saudi Pro League? Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo seems to think so, and his eternal rival Lionel Messi seems to be providing the evidence to support those claims.

Messi outclasses the competition in the United States

Although the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner is expected to be head and shoulders above most other football players in the world, he is showing that he is truly in a league of his own in the United States.

Messi joined Inter Miami this summer after turning down a massive offer from Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal, and he has since scored nine goals in just six appearances. Messi has also paved the way for David Beckham's side to book their place in the Leagues Cup final.

Fans in the USA are delighted with every Messi appearance, and tickets to Inter Miami games are now selling out within minutes from their release. Demand has also driven the prices up, but many are wondering if Messi's performances are truly stunning, or if he is simply playing in a league which is used to a much lower standard of play.

On August 16, his 30-yard goal against Philadelphia went viral, but others argue that he was left with too much space and that the goalkeeper really should have done more to stop the ball.

Nevertheless, the fans are delighted, and the MLS and Inter Miami are relishing in the media attention and commercial opportunities.

However, Messi himself admitted that he thinks the MLS is a lot less competitive than the Saudi Pro League. When he made the decision to join Inter Miami, he said that he wanted to play under less pressure and enjoy more time with his family. He knew that playing in the Saudi Pro League would provide a more pressure-filled environment, which is something that he did not want after a largely disappointing and underwhelming two-year stint with Paris-Saint Germain.

Ronaldo makes his position clear

Last month The Mirror quoted Ronaldo speaking his mind about the difference between the Saudi Pro League and MLS.

"The Saudi [Pro] League is better than MLS, now all the players are coming here. In one year, more top players will come to Saudi Arabia. I opened the way to the Saudi league, and now all the players are coming here," he said.

Indeed, the summer transfer window has proven that just half a year since Ronaldo's arrival, the Saudi Pro League has now managed to attract a number of players from the top European Leagues. Real Madrid captain Karim Benzema has joined Al-Ittihad, and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson opted to leave the Premier League to join Steven Gerrard at Al-Ettifaq.

The likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firminho, Fabinho, N'Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez have also made the switch, along with other players who are still in their mid-twenties. The latest big name to sign for a Saudi Pro League side is Brazilian forward Neymar Jr., who left PSG to sign for Al-Hilal.

Neymar confirms Ronaldo's influence

Earlier this week, PSG confirmed the departure of Neymar, who admitted that his decision was influenced by the Portuguese star. "I believe Cristiano Ronaldo started all of this and everybody called him 'crazy', and this and that, today you see the league more and more," he said in a video shared by Al-Hilal.

Of course, he will also be earning an eye-popping salary of £137 million ($174m/€160m) in Saudi Arabia. The transfer is a big risk for Al-Hilal, considering the fact that the Brazilian has spent most of the year away form the pitch as he recovers from surgery. It is still unclear when he will be able to make his debut for Al-Hilal, and if the investment will pay off. However, the oil-rich state seems to have a lot of cash to splurge, something which has led to some concerns from European clubs whose hands are tied by Financial Fair Play regulations.