Three footballers who could follow Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia
ESHLIN VEDAN firstname.lastname@example.org
African News Agency
SAUDI Arabian football, for now, is on the rise. The national team proved they can be competitive on a global scale by inflicting a 2-1 group stage defeat over eventual champions Argentina at the World Cup last year. By doing so, they became the first nation to defeat the South Americans since Brazil in 2019. Since then, the domestic league in the Gulf nation has risen, notably due to the addition of one Cristiano Ronaldo. The salary was no doubt a big reason why the Portugal captain decided to join Al Nassr. In addition to Ronaldo, some of the other notable stars in the Saudi Pro League are David Ospina (Al Nassr), Odion Ighalo (Al Hilal) and Felipe Caicedo (Abha). It must be noted the conservative kingdom has been accused of sports-washing and investing into sport in order to try and cover up alleged human rights violations within the country. Time will tell whether the Saudi momentum will carry on. Either it could fizzle out as did the oncehyped Chinese Super League, or it could go on to develop into something exciting, though that will take many years. We look at players who could soon follow Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia. Lionel Messi Messi’s next destination is likely to be either back at boyhood club Barcelona or a team in Saudi Arabia. He recently caused controversy by leaving PSG on an unauthorised visit to the country. There is little doubt that the Saudis will want him. What better marketing for them than to rekindle the battles between Ronaldo and Messi, which dominated football talk pre2020? Hugo Lloris The time is right for Lloris and Tottenham Hotspur to part ways. Spurs are again in need of renewal, and while Lloris has been a reliable presence for them for more than a decade, he has made his fair share of mistakes this season. The 36-year-old can also now transition to a less demanding environment after ending his international career following the conclusion of the 2022 World Cup. As a 2018 World Cup winner, Lloris will help to raise the profile of the league, while also passing down his knowledge to players. Sergio Busquets Barcelona recently confirmed the 34-year-old would be leaving the club at the end of the season. While he is now beyond his prime, Busquets – one of the few remaining survivors from Barcelona’s and Spain’s era of domination – still has what it takes to compete in any of Europe’s top five leagues if he wanted to.