La Liga Star Slams Ronaldo, Benzema, Others Say They Chose Saudi Arabia Transfers Just for Money

La Liga Star Slams Ronaldo, Benzema, Others Say They Chose Saudi Arabia Transfers Just for Money

Ero Samson
September 23, 2023 at 7:52 PM
  • Saudi Arabia continues to poach Europe's elite stars
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, and youngster Gabri Viega headlines the list of player transferred to the Saudi League
  • Atletico Madrid midfielder has criticised players that have completed transfers to the Middle East nation

The Saudi Pro League's sudden rise to prominence coincides with the establishment of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF), which has one of it's aims set at financing the affairs of sports clubs and other sporting projects in the Middle East nation.

Since the establishment of the public fund, the Saudi League has witnessed an unprecedented influx of Europe's elite stars, including former Real Madrid superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and current Ballon d'Or holder Karim Benzema.

Ronaldo, Al Nassr, Sadio Mane, Neymar, Transfer, Football, Al Hilal
Atletico Madrid's Axel Witsel recently spoke about European players' transfer to the Saudi Pro League. Image: Francois Nel.
Source: Getty Images

Atletico Madrid also recently lost one of its attackers to the Saudi League, and midfielder Axel Witsel has taken time to speak on the massive exodus of Europe's elite to the Middle East.

Witsel speaks on players' transfer to Saudi Arabia

The 34-year-old Belgian international who himself once had a stint at Chinese club Tianjin Tianhai, recently sat in an interview with Spanish outlet Marca ahead of this Sunday's Madrid derby.

Quizzed about his former teammate Yannick Carrasco's transfer to Al Shabab, Witsel provided a pragmatic response in his assessment.

"Each of us has our own path. I'm not saying it was bad to leave for Saudi Arabia, I went to China when I was 27. He did well, for me it was a life experience," Witsel said.
"Obviously we go there for money. We don't have to talk about the sports project. It's the truth, Carrasco did it and that's fine with me."

The Belgian midfielder's claim is further echoed by the recent transfer of 21-year-old Spanish midfielder Gabri Veiga. As reported by Football Italia, the former Celta man turned down a move to Italian giant Napoli in favour of Saudi newcomers Al Ahli.

Ronaldo praised for Saudi transfers

In a previous report, Sports Brief stated that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has been credited for pioneering the player influx into the Saudi Pro League.

Ronaldo’s surprising choice to join Al-Nassr marked a turning point for the Saudi top flight, as his decision led numerous other prominent players to follow the path set by the Portuguese maestro.

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Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).
WorldTransfersCristiano RonaldoKarim BenzemaLa Liga