Footballers from around the world are increasingly making their way to Saudi Arabia, and there are several compelling reasons behind this trend.
In this blog post, we’ll explore why top players are choosing to play in the Saudi League.
1. Lucrative Financial Opportunities
At the forefront of the reasons is the undeniable financial allure. The Saudi League has become a hotspot for lucrative contracts, with players being drawn by the promise of substantial earnings.
A prime example of this is Cristiano Ronaldo, who stands as the inaugural premium signing for a Saudi League team Al Nasr. Ronaldo’s contract is set to see him earn a staggering 200 million dollars annually for a span of two seasons.
This unprecedented salary not only underscores the league’s financial might but also sets a benchmark for other players eyeing similar opportunities.
2. Rich Football Culture
Saudi Arabia boasts a deep-rooted passion for football. It’s a sport that holds a special place in the hearts of the country’s inhabitants.
The local football culture is vibrant and all-encompassing, making it a welcoming environment for players to integrate into.
The stadiums are perpetually abuzz with devoted fans, contributing to an electric atmosphere that adds to the overall experience.
This intense passion for the sport serves as a magnet for footballers seeking a supportive and enthusiastic fan base.
3. Competitive Edge
While the Saudi League may not yet be on par with the top-tier European leagues, it is undeniably competitive in its own right.
This competitive nature is a key factor in luring players from across the globe.
The league might not have reached the pinnacle of European football, but it offers a level of competition that helps players stay sharp and perform at their best.
More and more players are transitioning from esteemed European clubs to Saudi League sides, further elevating the level of competition.
As this trend continues, the Saudi League is poised to climb the ranks and potentially establish itself as the fourth or fifth best league globally in terms of competitiveness.
Top Players who moved to Saudi League:
|Player||Club in Saudi League||Transfer Fee||Date Joined|
|Yassine Bounou||Al Hilal||£10.2m ($13m)||August 2023|
|Aleksandar Mitrovic||Al Hilal||£45m ($57m)||August 2023|
|Otavio||Al Nassr||£51.4m ($65m)||August 2023|
|Aymeric Laporte||Al Nassr||£23.5m ($29.8m)||August 2023|
|Neymar Jr||Al Hilal||£76.9m ($97.8m)||August 2023|
|Habib Diallo||Al Shabab||£15.3m ($19.4m)||August 2023|
|Fabinho||Al Ittihad||£35.9m ($45.6m)||August 2023|
|Roger Ibanez||Al Ahli||£25.6m ($32.6m)||August 2023|
|Franck Kessie||Al Ahli||£10.6m ($13.4m)||August 2023|
|Sadio Mane||Al Nassr||£24m ($30m)||August 2023|
|Allan Saint-Maximin||Al Ahli||£23m ($29.3m)||July 2023|
|Riyad Mahrez||Al Ahli||£30m ($38.6m)||July 2023|
|Jordan Henderson||Al Ettifaq||£12m ($15.6m)||July 2023|
|Malcom||Al Hilal||£51.5m ($66.9m)||July 2023|
|Romain Saiss||Al Sadd||£2.2m ($2.8m)||July 2023|
|Alex Telles||Al Nassr||Free||July 2023|
|Seko Fofana||Al Nassr||£21.6m ($27.8m)||July 2023|
|Sergej Milinkovic-Savic||Al Hilal||£34.2m ($44.6m)||July 2023|
|Roberto Firmino||Al Ahli||Free||July 2023|
|Marcelo Brozovic||Al Nassr||£15.4m ($19.6m)||July 2023|
|Jota||Al Ittihad||£25m ($31.7m)||July 2023|
|Edouard Mendy||Al Ahli||£16m ($20.2m)||June 2023|
|Karim Benzema||Al Ittihad||Free||June 2023|
|N’Golo Kante||Al Ittihad||Free||June 2023|
|Ruben Neves||Al Hilal||£47.1m ($60m)||June 2023|
|Kalidou Koulibaly||Al Hilal||£15.7m ($20m)||June 2023|
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Al Nassr||Free||January 2023|
|Anderson Talisca||Al Nassr||£6.9m ($8.8m)||July 2021|
Is Saudi League part of FIFA?
If you’re asking about the video game FIFA, then yes, the Saudi League will be in FIFA 24. But if you’re talking about the big international football organization called FIFA, then the Saudi League isn’t part of it.
FIFA takes care of football around the world, but for club-level football like the Saudi League, it’s managed by groups like the Asian Football Confederation.
Since Saudi Arabia is in Asia, it’s under their management.
Can team from Saudi League play in Champions League?
Right now, teams from the Saudi League can’t play in the Champions League.
That’s because the Champions League is for teams in Europe, and also a few from Turkey and Israel.
Turkey is in both Europe and Asia, which is why they can join. Israel is completely in Asia, but they got special permission.
If Israel can get permission, maybe Saudi teams could too in the future.
This could be good for UEFA’s money and make the games more fun. But for now, Saudi clubs are only in the Asian Champions League.