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Why are so many players moving to Saudi Arabia?

Updated: Sep 4, 2023


Recently, Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr shocked the world as fans were left confused over this move, Some criticised the action and some praised it as the 38-year-old was in the last years of his career. Everyone thought that rising talent wouldn’t even think about moving to Saudi Arabia as it would mean a serious drop in their career.


Against all the odds some young players who still are fit to compete in Europe have now started to think even negotiating with Saudi clubs for possible moves.


Within less than six months after Cristiano joined Al Nassr players like Karim BLeagueenzema and Ngolo Kante too have been secured by El-Ittihad. These combined are the biggest names in football with Karim Benzema being the most recent Balon Do’r winner for Real Madrid.

why are so many players moving to saudi Arabia - karim Benzema

Rumours have been emerging as Marcelo Brogovic is set to a move to Saudi Arabian club, A player who was also being actively targeted by clubs like Barcelona. Ruben Neves only 26 from Wolves has signed for Al-Hilal as signing which would surely scare Premier League players that young are considering to venture in Saudi Arabia instead of Premier League or other European Leagues.


Players Moving to Saudi Arabia - The Main Reason


Players like Hakim Ziyech and Eduardo Mendy from Chelsea are also set to join the Saudi Pro-League making this League somewhat in the limelight in World Football.


There has been a tremendous increase in the number of transfers Saudi Arabia has confirmed this summer including young and old players. Ruben Neves is one of the young players to have joined the Saudi side Al-Hilal from Premier League club Wolves. His signing is important for Saudi Arabia because he was a player even Barcelona was interested in signing showing that players are choosing Saudi Arabia over clubs like Barcelona.


There is something more Saudi Clubs have offered more than anything and yes it is money. Ronaldo is on a whopping $200 Million-a-year salary according to Marca. Benzema signed a deal that would see him earn $100 million annually for two years according to Marca. Players have a chance to double or more than what their European teams could offer.


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However, the development of football in Saudi Arabia has been a factor alone. The 2022 FIFA World Cup was alone an example of this. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina in their opening match the same Argentina that went on to lift the World Cup Title against France.


The fact that Al Nassr was able to put in 4 goals against that star-studded PSG team consisting of Sergio Ramos and Marquinos in their backline shows rapid improvement in the League.


One factor also might be that there is no strict regulator like UEFA in Saudi Arabia that would look into clubs managing their transfers instead clubs are managed and looked at as government associates as the funding comes from the Public Investment Fund. The reason they have been able to offer huge sums of money to the players.


Saudi Arabia is betting to host the World Cup in 2030, targeting players to play for a couple of years and are given the role of Brand Ambassador for the promotions of the upcoming events which are also paid in extra bonuses.


Growing Saudi League


Saudi League has been growing rapidly, The very example of this was the Saudi National team that managed to win against mighty Argentina in the World Cup. There has been a lot of improvement in the facilities provided by the government to make football a priority.


To Make Saudi a Football rich country they also have invested in the English Premier Teams Like Newcastle United. As things stand there is a huge potential for Saudi Leage to make to the top of the Football World.

sadio mane at Al-Nassr - players that moved to Saudi Arabia

The latest name added to that list is Bayern Munich forward Sadio Mane who has decided to join Al-Nassr. The Senegalese forward has always been a down-to-earth player his Liverpool days were probably the best in his career after a year at Bayer Munich Mane has agreed a contract with Al-Nassr. This is hence one more example of Saudi Arabia's involvement in bringing world talent to their league.


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