Riyadh.- exorbitant salaries, unimaginable offers and investments billionaires in football, Saudi Arabia is doing everything to diversify the country’s economy and abandon fossil fuels in the long term; Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr and other famous players are part of it. Their salaries offered at Saudi clubs are higher than those they received at previous teams. up to 10 times.
Saudi Professional League (SPL) is the top division of the Saudi Arabian Football Association. The competition started at 1976 and recently finished 58th in the national leagues the strongest in the world.
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The strongest national football tournaments are Premier League (England), Bundesliga (Germany), League (Spain), Kit (Italy) and league 1 (France). major league football (MLS), while not in the top 10, is currently ranked 16th.
However heir prince The Saudi government is concerned about the country’s dependence on fossil fuels (oil accounts for 42% of Saudi Arabia’s total GDP and 90% of the country’s export earnings), so it decided to radically restart Saudi Professional League.
A prime example of this is that in June 2023, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund 650 billion dollars took control of four Pro League clubs: Al-Nasr, Al-Ahly, Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilial.
That being said, the country now owns 75% of each of the four clubs, a situation that gives them an endless supply of cash to sign some of the best players in the world… Which, in fact, was done.
international players such as Ronaldo, Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Malcolm, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, Jota and many more have signed up for the dotted line to play in the national league, leaving their now former teams behind by agreeing to pay raises ranging from $20 million to over 200 million dollars.
And not forgetting Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe who turned down multi-million dollar contracts that would have made them the richest athletes in the world:
The Argentine star turned down a three-year offer and 1.6 billion dollars (533 million dollars a year) Al Hilal.
For his part, the French striker refused a transfer offer from $332 million represented by the same team that sought a deal with “Flea”, To Paris Saint Germain. In accordance with Fabrizio RomanoItalian sports journalist Al Hilal also offered Mbappa a whopping $221 million salary to play solo. season at the club.
Despite all this SPL It’s not finished yet. He is reportedly looking to sign 50 players from the major European leagues (they already have 30) as they look to increase their annual income. from 120 million dollars to 480 by 2030, enter the top 10 leagues and become one of the benchmark leagues outside the top 5 European leagues.
But most importantly, Saudi Arabia wants to use its national league as a “Troy horse” provide some of the most important sporting events such as Club World Cup (which will take place later this year and will be the first FIFA event in the kingdom since Confederations Cup 1997.); Asian Cup 2027 (which is already planned) and World Cup 2030; in the latter, they hope to be one of the final candidates.
This list is also expected to be added to Women’s Asian Cup 2026.
Although there are positions that predict these investments as “not sustainable” comparing it with Chinese Super League, in which the billionaires of this country have invested huge sums of money in eight-figure transfers and “insane” salaries of some of the best players in the world, such as Oscar, Hulk, Alex Teixeiraand so on, only to disappear during the pandemic, Saudi investment feels different.
On the one hand, the government is using the aforementioned sovereign wealth fund to fund teams, transfers and salaries – money that won’t run out anytime soon. with or without a pandemic.
Secondly, according to Joe Pompliano in his report on snuggle Saudi investment in football is not hurting the global game as much as people make it out to be, as while there is an element of sports money laundering involved, he explains that this is a completely separate issue, arguing that Saudi money actually helps a lot of people. big clubs.
If we take Neymar as an example, then not a single European team will not only pay even close $327 million for his services, but PSG would never have received a $100 million transfer fee from anyone else. And the same logic applies to just about every other famous player signed by Saudi Arabia, most of whom are under 30 years old and have gone to the eastern country just because they were offered. largest financial
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Meanwhile, the country appears to be changing the traditional structure of football, pumping big money into the world’s most popular sport. some strange way, it’s actually helping the world’s biggest clubs, who are facing financial pressure from wage increases happening across all five leagues. the most important thing in sports.
And that is why the SPL does not pose a threat to Major European leagues.
However, it is worth remembering that this money is not spent on developing the best football league in the worldRather, they are spent on improving the country’s image, attracting outstanding events and turning it into a tourist destination like Dubai. Crown Prince MBS plans to diversify the economy phasing out fossil fuels in the long term.
According to Huddle Up