Why Is Saudi Arabia Investing So Heavily in Football Despite missing Messi? Best Players Signing 2023

Saudi Arabia Investing: Saudi Arabia is determined to establish itself as an attractive destination for top football players, despite missing out on signing Lionel Messi. The oil-rich kingdom has already successfully recruited Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema, and it is now targeting several other high-profile players from Europe’s best leagues. This ambitious recruitment drive aims to elevate the Saudi Professional League’s status and transform it into a major player in global football.

Saudi Arabia Investing: Recruited Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kante

Cristiano Ronaldo signed Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr until 2025
Cristiano signed Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr until 2025
  • Saudi Arabia is trying hard to get world-class soccer players into its league.
  • Saudi Professional League has already lured Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema to the Pro League.
  • N’Golo Kante has joined them with Al-Ittihad for a three-year contract.
  • The world-famous soccer stars Hakim Ziyech, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Ruben Neves will follow Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema in joining the Saudi Arabian football league.
  • The reported salaries and commercial deals for Ronaldo, Benzema, and Kante could earn them a combined figure of nearly $1 billion.
  • This is just the start of Saudi’s plans to grow the profile and quality of its league.
  • The kingdom’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund has taken a majority ownership stake in four of the country’s top clubs.
  • Soccer teams are seen as a priority under the initiative backed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The focus on sports has led to accusations of sports washing.
  • Soccer is now a hugely popular sport in Saudi Arabia. They have 215 million large number of television audience.
  • The demand for international broadcast rights could grow as a result of more top players joining the league.
  • Premier League clubs eye in Saudi Arabia. Chelsea players, however, appear to be a drop in the ocean as far as the scope of Saudi’s ambition and spending power is concerned.
Karim Benzema joins Al Ittihad
Karim joins Al Ittihad

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Saudi Arabia Plans to Grow Soccer

It looks like this is just the start of Saudi’s plans to grow the profile and quality of its league while expanding its influence in global sport. The kingdom’s sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund has majority ownership. It has 4 top clubs ownership including Al-Ittihad and Al-Nassr.
PIF is described as a “catalyst of Vision 2023” which is a wide-ranging plan to overhaul the kingdom’s economy.


Despite failing to secure Lionel Messi’s signature, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious drive to recruit top football stars remains in full swing. The big soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and N’Golo Kante already joined the Saudi professional league. The kingdom aims to elevate the Saudi Professional League’s stature and attract international attention. They try to establish themselves as a major force in global football. While criticisms and accusations of sport-swashing persist, Saudi Arabia’s significant investments and vast wealth continue to reshape the landscape of professional football.

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