During the summer transfer window, we saw more and more players leaving Europe to join the Saudi Pro League. It is no surprise that the Middle Eastern clubs are providing the players with salaries much higher than what they get in Europe. However, many are questioning the Saudi Pro League’s credibility, as the quality of football there is still not up to mark as it is in Europe.
Manchester City defensive midfielder Rodrigo Hernández has spoken up about the issue. The 27-year-old Spaniard lost a teammate to the Saudi Pro League in the transfer window, and demands the situation to be “controlled.”
Rodri shares thoughts on Saudi transfers
Since Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in January of 2023, more and more players seem to follow in his footsteps. Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema also made a move to Al-Ittihad. Other big names such as Sadio Mane and Neymar Jr. have also left Europe in return for a heavy paycheck. Not only veteran players, but young players such as Ruben Neves are beginning to join forces with the Middle East as well.
City player Rodri has expressed his views about this new trend, and the player is concerned. “Evidently, European football loses in this situation and it is a very particular opinion of the players who decide to go out to these leagues. It is totally understandable due to the amount of money they offer. I think it’s a personal issue for everyone to decide for themselves” he said.
Rodri on Saudi: “It must be controlled in some way this drain of talent”. ⚠️🇸🇦
“It’s not just veterans in the twilight of their careers as there are young people now who are leaving. I respect all their decisions, but the people who take action must control this situation”. pic.twitter.com/ojDehKvMHs
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) September 11, 2023
“It must be controlled in some way this drain of talent because at first it seemed like it was just veterans in the twilight of their careers, but there are young people now who are leaving” he added.
Man City player who went to Saudi Pro League
Rodri himself lost a teammate to the Saudi Pro League, as the 31-year-old former Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez left the club after 5 years to join Al-Hilal on a four-year contract. Though the details of his contracts were not revealed, it is estimated that it is worth around $38.53 million. “To play for Manchester City has been an honour and privilege, I came to City to win trophies and enjoy my football and I achieved all that and so much more,” Mahrez said.
Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy also left his club to join Al-Hilal. The club has recently signed Brazillian legend Neymar Jr. on a two-year contract worth around $300 million.
Do you share the opinion with the 2023 Champions League winner? Let us know your take on players leaving Europe for Middle East in the comments section.