The Saudi Pro League continues to attract elite soccer players from top-tier European clubs, with the Middle East becoming a popular destination for soccer stars.
With the lucrative deals, the Saudi Arabian League rankings have surged with ballooning viewership.
World soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is among a host of legends and famous names that switched to Saudi Arabia.
In December 2022, CR7 joined Al Nassr, making the league popular and aired on more broadcast TV stations.
Also Read: Saudi Arabia or South Africa? Ronaldo Stumbles over Mega-Move
Here are some of the superstars who have joined the Saudi Pro League and what impact they are likely to have on their respective clubs.
Karim Benzema joined Al Ahli Club after his contract at Real Madrid ended. He also had a glorious spell in Europe where he played for French Club Olympique Lyon, scoring scored 66 goals in 148 appearances.
At Santiago Bernabéu, Benzema scored 354 goals in 648 appearances.
Benzema has already netted twice for his new club in his first two appearances. The forward has prowess in leading attacks on the counter and holding up the ball, allowing his team to make the transition.
Karim Benzema is a five five-time Champions League winner and recipient of the coveted FIFA Ballon D’or.
Sadio Mane moves to Saudi Pro League
The Senegalese is one of the latest footballers to join the Saudi Pro League after cutting ties with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
Sadio Mane has had a flawless career in Europe having played for Southampton and Liverpool where he won the Premier League in the 2019-2020 season a champions League and golden boot award.
However, Sadio Mane’s stay at Bayern has not been the best as he only scored 13 goals in his two seasons at the club.
Mane is known for his all-round abilities on the pitch, from goal-scoring to defensive prowess and energy, power, and reliability in awareness of space. He secured a transfer to Al Nassr at a fee of £24m ($30m).
N’Golo Kanté is a Franh international who plays for Saudi Arabian Club Al-Ittihad where he joined from Chelsea.
Kanté has appeared for several European Clubs, but his star rose when he helped Leicester City to their historic Premier League Win in 2016. N’Golo Kanté known for bossing the midfield in the defensive area has won it all.
Having a Champions League, Europa League and The FIFA World Cup makes Kanté world class in his area of play. Kante is known for his tireless work ethic, tactical intelligence, and ball-winning abilities.
One of the best football players of all time, amid controversies with Manchester United joined Al Nassr in January 2023 after an explosive Television interview with Piers Morgan leading to mutual termination of his contract with The Red Devils.
Ronaldo’s stellar career is concluding at the Saudi Arabian Club having won in almost every competition he has featured.
Cristiano Ronaldo has 838 career goals with 1,168 appearances for both club and country. He won five champions league trophies with Real Madrid, several La Liga championships and at Manchester United before his move to Spain.
Apart from his obvious goal-scoring prowess, he has had a successful career mostly attributed to his combination of technical abilities, physicality, strong mentality, and consistency.
Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Pro League
Algerian international Riyad Mahrez is also a popular name to secure a transfer to Saudi club Al Ahli at a transfer fee of £30m ($38.6m).
Despite interests from big clubs, Mahrez preferred a move to the Middle East.
He had a successful spell in the English Premier League where he won the Premier League with Leicester City and Manchester City, several league cups and FA cups.
Mahrez is a top winger who was always Pep’s favorite in big matches and rightly so delivered whenever called upon.
Moreover, he has a total of 137 goals until know. As a winger he is also known for his agility and ability to beat opponents in one-on-one situations.
Here is a comprehensive list of players who have secured transfers to the Saudi Pro League this summer.
|Player||New Club||Transfer Fee||Date Joined|
|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|