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Messi or Ronaldo: Whose League is Easier?


There was a time when Messi and Ronaldo dominated Europe’s best leagues every week. They regularly faced each other on Europe’s best stages. The audience used to sit eagerly in front of the TV screen to watch their duel. If one scores two goals, the other responds with a hat trick. Those are distant memories as time passes. To think about those days is to feel nostalgia.

That day is no longer in the flow of time. Both have ended their European League chapters. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Saudi Arabia immediately after the World Cup, while Lionel Messi’s destination was the United States of America. Even after removing themselves from Europe, their form did not drop at all. Just as Ronaldo is scoring goals after goals in the Saudi League, Messi is pouring in a flood of goals and assists in Major League Soccer.

At the two ends of the world, on two continents, two superstars are finally enjoying football in their own way. But the frenzy of the supporters does not stop there. Both sides are eager to see their favorite players at the top, so the question has come up: Saudi Pro League or Major League Soccer? Which league is easier to play in?

League system

Major League Soccer in the United States is unlike any other league in the world. Major League Soccer’s philosophy and style of play are completely different from those of other leagues around the world. Major League Soccer began in 1996, also under the terms of FIFA. In 1988, the United States received permission to host the World Cup. But they did not have their own football league. Instead, the United States team participated in the ‘North American Soccer League’ together with Canada. The United States had to take the initiative to create their own league with the World Cup in front of them. Although they could not start the league according to the conditions, in 1994, the United States hosted the World Cup in their own country. Two years later, in a network of strange rules, ‘Major League Soccer’ or ‘MLS’ was created.

It is good to say at the outset that ‘MLS’ is held for only six months in a year. From the beginning of March to the end of October. Then the MLS Cup lasted for about a month. In total, the entire season was completed within 7 months. With much of the United States covered in snow during the winter, they are in a rush to finish the league while still enjoying the warmth of summer. That’s why ‘MLS’ is also known as ‘Picnic League’ to many.

The interesting thing is that there is no relegation system in this league. That means there is no fear of going down to the next division, even if a team is at the bottom of the league table. Even if a team is at the top, there is no guarantee of winning the title here.

MLS League stage

Major League Soccer (MLS) has 29 teams, but unlike all the major football leagues, the teams are divided into two groups: the Eastern Conference (15 teams) and the Western Conference (14 teams). Each team across the two conferences plays 34 games in total during the regular season. This means that a team in the Eastern Conference will play 28 games in their own half (two games against the other 14 teams), and the rest are games against teams from the Western Conference.

Meanwhile, a team in the Western Conference will play 26 games in their own half (two games against the other 13 teams) and the remaining eight games against a team from the Eastern Conference.

The team that tops their respective conference then wins the Supporters Shield.

MLS playoffs

The top seven teams from each conference will qualify directly for round one. In contrast, the eighth- and ninth-placed teams from both conferences play a best-of-three series called the Wild Card matches to join the other teams.

So, in the end, 16 teams will reach Round One, where they will play in a direct knockout competition. However, these 16 teams will be divided into two groups of eight, maintaining the difference between the Eastern and Western Conferences.

The higher-seed team will host the first game, while the second game will be hosted by the lower-seed team. If the game is tied at the end of regulation time for match 2, it will go to penalties to determine the winner.

In the end, the final two teams that win their respective conferences in Round One will face off in the MLS Cup Championship finals. The MLS title went to the final-winning team. Only seven times in the history of Major League Soccer has the team that won the MLS Supporters Shield also won the MLS Cup.

Lionel Messi is playing in a league where, even if he is at the top, the title is not guaranteed, and even if he is in the 18th position, there is a chance to win the title. On the other hand, the league is not that open for Ronaldo. Rather, the league of Saudi Arabia is the same as ten European leagues.

A total of 18 teams will play in the Saudi Pro League this season. At the end of each season, the bottom three teams in the league table are relegated to the next league. And the top two teams get a chance in the AFC Champions League, the famous “Champions League” of Asia. In other words, the football authorities of Saudi Arabia have been running their own leagues for 47 years according to the same rules as the leagues in every country in the world.

The biggest change in the Saudi league came last season, when Saudi Arabia’s Public Interest Fund, or PFI, bought 75 percent of the top four clubs, Al Nasr, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal, and Al Ahli. Their goal is to bring the world’s attention to Saudi football. Their bid to host the 2034 World Cup will be more mature.



Major League Soccer is known to many as a retirement home. At the very end of their careers, players move to Major League Soccer to earn some extra cash. Lionel Messi is not an exception. That is why there is no one who can be called Messi’s toughest opponent in the American League. Although players like Xherdan Shaqiri, Lorenzo Insigne, and Javier Chicharito played, no one could compete with Messi, either by name or by the whole team.

Ronaldo also joined the Saudi Pro League at the end of his career. But with the passing of the season, the Saudi Pro League has become the most sought-after league of the present time. Every day, someone is joining a club in Saudi Arabia. Who isn’t there? From N’Golo Kante, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Fabinho, and Roberto Firmino to Neymar and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema. It is not that only players who are at the end of their careers are running in the Saudi League. Stars like Ruben Neves and Saint-Maximin are also running in Saudi Arabia. The biggest thing is that everyone is not flocking to the same team; rather, each club in Saudi Arabia is buying each other. As a result, the value of the entire league is increasing. Competition is increasing.


After the arrival of Lionel Messi, the influx of stars began at Inter Miami. David Beckham is selectively bringing Lionel Messi’s former teammates to Miami. Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and Luis Suarez have joined Inter Miami after Messi. In other words, Beckham is arranging the team exactly the way Messi needs to be organized to play like himself.

On the other hand, the names around Ronaldo are not less big. He has Europe-shaking stars like David Ospina under the goal, Sadio Mane, and Marcelo Brozovic in midfield.


While there is an official ranking for European leagues, there is no official ranking for all leagues in the world. However, since its inception, Major League Soccer has made a name for itself by attracting a variety of players. From David Beckham to Kaka, Ibrahimovic, David Via, Wayne Rooney, Andre Pirlo, and Gonzalo Higuain, Gareth Bale has played in this league. That’s why Major League Soccer is very popular with the people and the football community. There is also a bad reputation. MLS is known to everyone as ‘retirement homes’. Why not? As many names as you hear, all flocked here at the end of their careers. However, even though they came at the end, they have contributed to the name of the league.

The Saudi Pro League is far behind in this regard. Nobody knew their names before Ronaldo joined. Very few people may have seen them play in the Club World Cup. But since Ronaldo joined, the popularity of the Saudi League has started to increase rapidly. It started to grow so much that some TV channels started broadcasting the Saudi Arabian league live, ditching the Spanish and Italian leagues. They have progressed one more step in this season of team change. With the arrival of big players, the names of Saudi League teams are now on everyone’s lips.


Age is beginning to show in the face; the game lacks the old enthusiasm. Despite being thousands of kilometers away from Europe, the two never went out of the limelight. Still, every corner of social media shakes with every goal and every assist. Yes, it may not be as glorious as before. If the goal is missed, the laughter may not rise anymore. But even today, fans watch every match and every shot.

Messi or Ronaldo, whose league is easier? The answer to that question is unknown. Depending on the situation, even the best team in history can lose to a small team. Even the weakest team can become all-powerful. Football is like that: strange, exciting, and full of uncertainty. But one thing is certain: everyone has to pull through one day. Messi and Ronaldo, who are far away from Europe, will end their careers one day. At the end of the day, instead of fighting with them unnecessarily, let’s enjoy ourselves together. What do you say?

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Puspita Cuty
I love to read. Day by day I'm losing competition.

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