This summer’s transfer window has been dominated by the Saudi Pro League’s efforts to become a popular destination. Top European soccer players received massive pay upgrades to play in the Middle Eastern nation. Now, Liverpool star Roberto Firmino is making the move to Saudi Arabia to join an already-impressive cast of footballers.
For example, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema are two Ballon d’Or winners in the Saudi Pro League. Former Chelsea players N’Golo Kante, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy made the switch. More recently, Marcelo Brozovic and Ruben Neves signed with Saudi Pro League clubs. Each of these four players will or already does represent one of four clubs. Those are Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli. The Saudi Public Investment Fund, or PIF, controls each of those.
Saudi PIF is said to still be on the hunt for more top talent this summer. With players like Bernardo Silva, Neymar, Alvaro Morata, David de Gea and many more on their wish list. The PIF provides an unmatched financial incentive to take playing careers over to Saudi Arabia. Therefore, it is unsurprising to see so many high-profile players relocate.
Roberto Firmino is signing a three-year contract with Al-Ahli, according to the club. The 31-year-old’s contract at Anfield expired at the end of June. Rather than re-upping on a new deal, the attacker opted for a fresh challenge. That took him away from Merseyside after a famously successful stint at Anfield.
Along with Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and James Milner, the Brazilian departed the Reds as a free agent this summer. After the last game of the season, both the squad and the supporters gave the four retiring players a standing ovation, with the greatest cheers reserved for the contemporary great Firmino.
Together with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, he formed a lethal attacking combination that led to Liverpool’s 2019 Champions League, 2020 Premier League, and 2022 FA Cup and League Cup titles.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Propaganda Photo
Includes: Premier League + 84 Sports Channels
Includes: Bundesliga & La Liga
Includes: Champions League & Serie A
Includes: Premier League
Includes: every MLS game and Leagues Cup
World Soccer Talk © 2023. Made in Florida.
World Soccer Talk is reader-supported and may earn a commission through our partner links.