With Cristiano Ronaldo joining Al Nassr, the Riyadh Based Club, a lot of us jumped in, whispering that his era was fading. Yet, we missed the fact that this moment actually marked the exciting beginning of a new chapter in football history.
Saudi Pro League will become one of the biggest leagues as many pundits expect. Their anticipation is becoming more evident as Neymar Jr, one of the biggest names in the football world joined Al Hilal, another Saudi-based club.
While many view the SPL as a landing ground for retirees looking to secure a comfortable retirement fund, the Saudi perspective paints a different picture. Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is committed to using the $620 Billion worth fund to attract the big stars in European football.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is ready to invest their staggering $620 Billion fund to bring the big names from European football. We have already started to witness visions transforming into reality as Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Riyad Mahrez, and many more joined to play Saudi Pro League.
While some argue that money can’t overshadow history, culture, and passion – initially, that might be true. But, if investments keep flowing over time, the best players will come. This will completely change the game. Players have the power to do that. Saudi League teams will get stronger as they have the funds to bring in top players and coaches. It might sound a bit tough to say money drives players the most, but it’s pretty accurate. Think of it like the way many talented players from Latin America move to Europe.
Nonetheless, a comparison can be drawn where China ventured into a similar endeavor, yet its efforts were met with limited success. In contrast, the Saudi Pro League presents a distinctive scenario. Fueled by the unique blend of Saudi Arabia’s political framework and the nation’s fervent passion for football, the league holds the promise of triumph.
While China rushed its approach, Saudi Arabia is taking a composed and experienced stance in this venture, ready to tackle challenges effectively. The difference in perspective is clear: Saudi Arabia aims to make a significant mark on football history through a well-thought-out and monumental achievement.
“Saudi Arabia has changed the market,” said Guardiola.
“A few months ago when Cristiano [Ronaldo] was the only one to go, no one thought this many top, top players would play in the Saudi league.
“In the future, there will be more and that’s why clubs need to be aware of what is happening.”
The passion for football in this nation didn’t come out of nowhere. Football has held the top sport in Saudi Arabia for years, and the excitement is palpable. Fans are eager to see their favorite players representing their local clubs. This might be one of the reasons why, in the initial phase of this shift, the Saudi Pro League (SPL) could outshine the MLS.
Since Mohammad Bin Salman came to power, the socio-economic structure has changed. MBS envisions Saudi Arabia becoming a global investment powerhouse. Saudi Arabia also desires to reduce its oil dependency. To achieve these goals, cultural shifts have been initiated. The administration wants Saudi Arabia to become a tourist destination. And then the plan to renovate football comes into play. Football has been an influential part of the global economy.
Powerful economies always want to bid for hosting the FIFA World Cup since it is one of the best and most effective ways to represent your culture and your country. So, ensuring the domestic league is as successful as possible would be the best way to let the world know about your introduction to becoming a global power. Saudi Pro League would work as a complementary factor for the tourism industry as well if it creates enough buzz in the football world.
The Asian region, including Northern Africa, the Arab world, and the Indian Subcontinent, could experience significant positive effects. The Saudi Pro League has the potential to rejuvenate football, bringing back excitement and passion. This could lead to a new football style taking root, and even change how people view the FIFA Club World Cup, making it more exciting than ever before.
“N’Golo Kanté at Baku before 2019 UEFA Europe League Final” by Amir Hosseini is licensed under CC BY 4.0.
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