Saudi Arabia’s professional league squad made a lot of headlines this summer, with the likes of Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante and Rubén Neves joining Cristiano Ronaldo in the country.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund recently bought four of the country’s top teams: Al Ittihad, Al Nasr, Al Hilal and Al Ahli, while 14 other top clubs also have players to watch.
You may have seen the players and managers who have recently moved to Saudi Arabia, but you may not know much about the teams they have joined or who else is there.
Abha, from the town of the same name, was still playing in the third division in the 2017/18 season before winning back-to-back promotions. You haven’t won big trophies.
They are managed by Cesław Micinewicz, who coached Poland at last winter’s Qatar World Cup, and their biggest name is 34-year-old Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo, who played for Manchester City 14 years ago. .
Al Hilal have won the Asian Champions League with a record four titles and 18 titles in Saudi Arabia. Former Benfica manager Jorge Jesús was appointed this summer to replace former Oxford manager Ramon Diaz.
Another PIF club that signed Wolves captain Ruben Neves for £47m this summer also signed Kalidou Koulibaly and Lazio midfielder Sergei Milinkovic-Savic from Chelsea. Also in the squad are former Porto striker Moussa Marega, former West Brom playmaker Mateus Pereira and former Watford Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo.
Al Ittihad, also owned by PIF, are Al Hilal’s biggest rivals in the derby known as the Saudi Clásico. They are the defending champions and former Wolves and Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo led them to the title last season. Scotsman Ian Kaslo is one of Nuno’s first-team coaches.
Established in 1927, it is the oldest football club in Saudi Arabia.
They signed Real Madrid’s Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema and former Chelsea star N’Golo Kante, as well as £25million Celtic striker Jota in one of the biggest transfers of the summer.
They include former Brazil international goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe, former West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi and Brazilian midfielder Igor Coronado, who played for Banbury United in 2012 after spending time in the MK Dons youth team. Join.
Nine-time champions Al Nasr beat their league rivals by a few months, and in January after leaving Manchester United, five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo was signed around the world. became a hot topic. He scored 14 goals and finished second in the professional league.
Ronaldo’s Portuguese compatriot Luis Castro will replace Rudy Garcia as manager this summer and they will become another PIF club.
Inter Milan captain Marcelo Brozovic has also made a recent transfer, with former Arsenal keeper David Ospina, former Argentina international Gonzalo Martinez, former Benfica striker Talisca and Ivory Coast defender Ghislain Konnan also playing in the squad. are doing. Saudi Arabia international Mukhtar Ali has played for England at U16 and U17 levels.
Al Okdoud have never won a big trophy, but five years ago they were only in the third division. Their manager, Jorge Mendonca, was Reading’s deputy boss from 2018 to 2019.
The Najran-based team doesn’t have a name everyone knows. Veteran Brazilian goalkeeper Paulo Vitor has arrived from Portuguese club Chaves this summer.
Another smaller side in the top league, Al Raed have no major titles and are currently unmanaged. They are in the same position as Buraydah’s rival, Al Tawun. Brazilian defender Pablo Santos has played in the top leagues of Portugal, Russia and Turkey.
Al Riyadh’s best season was the 1993/94 season when they finished second in the league and won the Prince’s Cup. They were promoted last season and just signed Belgian manager Yannick Ferrera.
Former Serbian striker Nikola Stojiliković has played in his native Portugal, Spain, Serbia, Turkey and Poland.
Six-time champions Al-Shabaab are currently looking for a new coach. Former Valencia and Argentina international midfielder Ever Banega is their most famous player. Gustavo Cuellar of Colombia and South Korea’s three-time World Cup goalkeeper Kim Seung-gyu are also in the squad.
2019 King’s Cup winner Al Tauun, who is only 57 and in his 30th career as manager, will be managed by Brazilian Pericles Chamska.
Spanish midfielder Álvaro Medran made five appearances for Real Madrid in the 2015/16 season, while veteran Brazilian centre-back Naldo played for a number of European teams.
Al-Tay, who have yet to win a major title, have appointed Croatian Kresimir Rezić as manager this summer. Guinea-Bissau midfielder Alfa Semedo was on loan at Nottingham Forest and Reading in the English Championship between 2019 and 2021.
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