Ahead of the 2023-24 season, the Saudi Arabian league has attracted a host of top players. Neymar’s move to Al-Hilal highlights the big names.
TransferMarkt, a specialized soccer transfer site, released its best 11 of the Saudi league on Saturday. The publication organized the lineup based on the price tag of the players.
The attacking lineup is super-luxurious. Neymar, Sadio Mane (Al Nasr), Karim Benzema (Al Ittihad), and Alain Saint-Maximin (Al Ahli) headline the front line. All of them played in Europe’s big leagues in the 2022-23 season.
In the middle of the park, we’ve got Leo Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Al Hilal), and Fabinho (Al Ittihad). Neves spent the previous season with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the English Premier League (EPL) and Fabinho with Liverpool. Milinkovic-Savic played for Lazio in the Italian Serie A. Neves, born in 1997, and Milinkovic-Savic, born in 1995, could have had a bright future in Europe, but they chose to stay in Saudi Arabia.
Fans have reacted with mixed feelings. While some say it’s “understandable” that the Saudis would accept a big offer, others are saddened. “These are players whose careers are over,” said one fan, and many others agreed, while another lamented that “football is over.” The lamentation comes as this summer has solidified the phenomenon of players following the money to Saudi Arabia.
The rush of top players to Saudi Arabia began in earnest in January with the move of Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nasr). Ronaldo, who was playing for Manchester United at the time, had fallen out with the team after publicly criticizing them. He had to find a new team, and he chose Saudi Arabia. At the time, Ronaldo had fallen from his peak and was nearing the end of his career, so many people were sympathetic to his decision. 안전놀이터
But this summer, the lure of money has been too much to resist for even players in the prime of their careers in Europe, causing a stir among fans.