From Ronaldo to Mane, from Franck Kessie to Mendy: How Footballers are Embracing the Saudi Culture

From Ronaldo to Mane, from Franck Kessie to Mendy: How Footballers are Embracing the Saudi Culture

Lukman Mumuni
September 25, 2023 at 8:52 AM
  • Football stars in Saudi Arabia have started adopting the Saudi culture
  • Ronaldo, Sadio Mane and others were spotted wearing the popular white Saudi dress
  • Several stars including Benzema and Kante moved to Saudi Arabia in the summer transfer window

Saudi Arabia has become the centre of attraction in sports since the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar following the influx of superstar footballers from Europe.

Before the turn of the year, many did not envisage the best player is Europe - Karim Benzema - and the best player from Africa - Sadio Mane - will be joining five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia.

Brazil's record goal scorer Neymar also moved to the gulf after ending his stay with French giants, Paris Saint-Germain.

Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Karim Benzema, Franck Kessie
Saudi Pro League stars have started adopting the country's lifestyle. Credit: @AlAhli_FC @AlNassrFC @AlIttihad
Source: Twitter

The Saudi Pro League is rapidly becoming the fastest growing league in the world and was recently ranked the 36th best in the world, according to The Analyst.

While the Saudi league continues to dominate attention, the adaptation of the country's culture by players from different parts of the world has been eye-catching.

From the introduction of players to the celebrations of the country's way of living.

Al Nassr release classic cultural video featuring Ronaldo and Mane

Ahead of the blockbuster game between Al Nassr and Al Ahli, Ronaldo and Sadio Mane led their teammates in a beautiful video released by the club, signifying their readiness for the big encounter.

The players were cladded in their white Saudi Arabian apparel, holding swords and dancing to Arabian songs.

The production of the video was immaculate and revealed the other side of the players as they excitedly performed their various roles.

Frank Kessie given Arabian welcome from Barcelona

During the unveiling of Ivory Coast star, Franck Kessie, the ex-Barcelona star given a tradition welcome. Kessie was spotted in a beautiful Arabian regalia while biting on Saudi's popular fruits, Dates.

Kessie has since been spotted at different occasions wearing beautifully fit Arabian attire.

Benzema, Kante, Fofana perform Umrah

Umrah is an Islamic right performed during a Muslim's visit to Saudi Arabia, where a person goes round the Holy Kaaba - a black temple - situated in the heart of Mecca.

For the Muslim players who signed for clubs in Saudi Arabia, it was an opportunity for them to perform the Islamic duty which is ingrained in Arabian culture.

Players trying their hands on Arabic

Ronaldo went viral for practicing Arabic. His favourite words have been 'Salamualaikum' - which translates peace be upon you. The use of Yallah is popular with Al Hilal players while other write their post match reactions in Arabic.

At some point, the children of Ronaldo were also seen learning the language.

Mahrez advertises for Arabian perfume

One of the avenues for players to make extra money is through advertisement. Riyad Mahrez, who joined Al Ahli from Manchester City in the summer transfer window, struck a deal with an Arabian perfume maker.

The players who arrived in Saudi Arabia in the summer transfer window seemed to have settled and are enjoying life in the gulf nation. Mane's dance after the 5-0 win against Al Fateh sums it all.

Ronaldo and Mane receive Iranian gifts

Earlier, Sports Brief reported that Al-Nassr stars, Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane left Iran with gifts from their hosts, Persepolis following their AFC Champions League clash this week.

The arrival of the team sent Iran into a frenzy, with thousands of fans flooding the streets of Tehran to catch a glimpse of the Portuguese veteran and his teammates.

Ronaldo and Mane were pivotal as Al-Nassr strolled to a 2-0 victory in their opening group game, thanks to Mohammed Qassem and Abdulrahman Ghareeb.

Lukman Mumuni photo
Lukman Mumuni
Lukman Abdul Mumin is a Sports Journalist based in Accra, Ghana. He has been writing for the past five years. Lukman joined Sports Brief as an Editor for the Local Desk in 2022.
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