Cristiano Ronaldo surprised millions of fans when he announced that he was signing with Al Nassr after the Qatar World Cup. The Portuguese legend had decided to embark on a very risky adventure to put the Saudi Pro League on the map.

Following CR7’s announcement, several stars followed the same path and went to Saudi Arabia. For example, Neymar, Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, Marcelo Brozovic and Yannick Carrasco.

However, as the weeks passed, some players began to realize that despite the million-dollar contracts, the pace of life wasn’t as straightforward. One of them was Jordan Henderson, who had left Liverpool and the Premier League to sign with Al Ettifaq.

In Henderson’s case, criticism began to arise because he is a staunch defender of LGBT community, while Saudi Arabia is a country completely against such rights.

Jordan Henderson admits playing in the Saudi Pro League was a mistake

Cristiano Ronaldo led the way to Saudi Arabia with Al Nassr (Getty Images)

Jordan Henderson only endured one semester playing in Saudi Arabia, and in early 2024, he sought to leave the country even though it would come at a high cost to terminate his contract with Al Ettifaq.

Ultimately, the player signed a two-season deal with Ajax and moved to the Eredivisie. Now, during an interview with Het Parool, the midfielder admitted that leaving the Premier League was a serious mistake.

“The Saudi league is developing but it doesn’t suit me. I made a mistake going there. I am happy here at the Ajax project. I now realize that football runs through my blood. During those five months in Saudi Arabia, I learned a lot about myself. What are my motivations? Why do I play football?”

Now, althugh Ajax are on a severe crisis, Jordan Henderson is enjoying high-lvel competition. “I’ve returned to live the European nights like against Aston Villa. I want to create a big surprise with my teammates. When people boo me, it gives me extra motivation. Proving the critics wrong is a consistent thread in my career that doesn’t wear out over the years. It’s my way of expressing emotions. A passion that belongs to me.”