The Saudi Pro League is erupting. After Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Al Nassr in January 2023, the league has gained some popularity. And with the money factor out there, many players have begun to contemplate whether to spend the latter years of their careers in the Arabian Peninsula.
FootTheBall lists the famous players who have and can join the Saudi Pro League, and the names aren’t disappointing either.
Well, this one was obvious. Ever since his controversial move to Al Nassr, Cristiano Ronaldo has been the centre of attention. He might have gone trophyless in his first season in Saudi, although things will get better.
Many have criticized the Portugal legend for being too self-centred on and off the pitch, but that seems to hardly be the case. Although a fact to note here is that, Al Nassr were league leader in January when Ronaldo joined them, only to lose their grip since the former Real Madrid legend’s arrival.
The most recent arrival in the Saudi Pro League. Karim Benzema’s switch to the Saudi League has come as a bit of a shock to many. The Real Madrid legend is the most decorated player of the club and will look to go head-to-head with Ronaldo for the league title next season.
The two players are former Los Blancos teammates and scored countless goals and assists among them. It will be a fantastic viewing for fans worldwide and can only produce some classic moments.
The least expected switch on this list. Kante’s contract was due to expire in June 2023. Although the Chelsea midfielder had made significant progress with the club in order to extend his contract, talks collapsed out of nowhere.
The French World Cup winning midfielder will join Karim Benzema at Al Ittihad and have already turned heads in Europe. Other big-name players have already taken notice and might make their own move to Northwest Asia.
Many African-born origin players have moved to the Saudi Pro League this summer, which will be covered ahead in this long list. However, one that stands out is surely Sadio Mane.
After leaving Liverpool in 2022, Mane joined Bayern to replace Lewandowski. Things didn’t work out between those two as expected and now the Senegal attacker will join Ronaldo at Al Nassr for an undisclosed fee.
Another one that has moved from Chelsea to the Saudi Pro League. After losing his place to Kepa as the Blues’ first-choice keeper due to injuries, Mendy decided he needs to move on to a new club.
Chelsea as well needed to balance their books, so it was a win-win situation for all parties involved. Mendy is now plying his trade at Al Ahli and will compete with some of the best in the world.
Once Premier League rivals, now Al Ahli teammates in the Saudi Pro League. Firmino was part of the famous Liverpool trio that won the Champions League and helped Liverpool win their first-ever Premier League title.
With his contract with the Reds coming to an end, the Brazil international decided to seek a new challenge.
Al Nassr are building a team that will be capable of fighting for the SPL title this season, Brozovic has been bought from Inter Milan in a bid to achieve that.
The Croatian will join the likes of Ronaldo and Telles at Al Nassr after rejecting offers from clubs like Barcelona.
The left-back was recently announced by Al Nassr as their latest signing. Telles has teamed up with former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Brazilian fullback was on the fringes of Man Utd under Ten Hag and decided to join the Saudi Pro League for $5m.
Wolves received a record bid of $60m for their captain Neves. The Portuguese midfielder was poached by Al Hilal who are on the quest to build a dream team.
Neves signed a three-year deal at Al Hilal and will play alongside stars like Milinkovic-Savic, Koulibaly and probably Mbappe.
Once a highly-rated young midfielder, now has completed a move to Al Hilal. The Serbian will play alongside Ruben Neves in an all-star midfield.
Milinkovic-Savic spent eight years at Lazio having made a name for himself as the lynchpin for the Rome-based club in Italy.
Chelsea have made rapid-fire sales to Saudi clubs this summer. Koulibaly was one of them after spending just one season at Stamford Bridge.
The Senegal international joined Al Hilal who have already made some mind-blowing signings and will play with the likes of Ruben Neves.
The Liverpool captain has already joined Saudi club Al Ettifaq, with an official announcement the only thing pending.
Henderson leaves Anfield having spent 12 trophy-laden years at the club and will join former captain and teammate Steven Gerrard, who was also appointed as Al Ettifaq’s manager this summer.
Jining Mendy and Firmino at Al Ahli will be Riyad Mahrez, after the Algerian accepted terms with the winger.
Manchester City have already accepted a decent bid from the Saudi club and the treble winners are already on the hunt for his replacements. Mahrez will leave the Cityzens as a cult hero having won 5 Premier League titles and 1 Champions League title.
The transfer which might probably not happen, but if it does, it’ll break football. Al Hilal, the most successful club in the Saudi Pro League’s history, have made a world record $325 bid for Kylian Mbappe.
PSG have already accepted the bid and have given permission to Al Hilal to progress talks with the French forward. However, Mbappe has already accepted terms with Real Madrid to join as a free agent in the summer of 2024. More to follow on this one!
Al Ittihad are on the hunt for another world-class midfielder after signing Kante. The Saudi club made a bid of $45m to Liverpool for the Brazilian.
The Reds have reportedly accepted the offer and have left Fabinho out of the pre-season tour squad to allow him to have his medical tests which will be followed by an official transfer.
Ziyech’s transfer to Saudi was almost done, before a failed medical became the reason for the collapsed deal. The Morrocco international was about to join Al Nassr and team up wit Ronaldo but the Saudi club blocked the move stating the above reason.
Ziyech might eventually move to Saudi, with his future at Chelsea all but over under new manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Sergio Ramos’ contract with PSG has expired and he is on the lookout for a new club. But where can he go next? The Spanish and Real Madrid legend is now a free-agent and some of Europe’s elites have already made contact with the player.
One league that is making a swift move is the Saudi Pro League. A few Saudi clubs are already reportedly in talks with the defender but the Spaniard is still waiting on other options. Ramos might eventually end up in the Saudi Pro League, but for now his future is still up in the air.