Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr has paved the way for a host of top-class stars to continue their careers in the Saudi Pro League.
As a European football star, moving to a Saudi Arabian club to spend the final seasons of your career wasn’t an odd choice even before Cristiano Ronaldo’s record-breaking transfer to Al Nassr last winter. But the Portuguese superstar’s arrival seems to have changed the Saudi football scene completely.
The Saudi Pro League is set to host more and more big names in the near future, with clubs already competing against European sides in the transfer market.
Let’s take a look at the five players that could join Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League next season.
Sanchez spent an impressive campaign at Marseille after arriving from Inter in August 2022.The former Barcelona star registered 14 goals and three assists for the Ligue 1 side. However, he is reportedly leaning toward a move away from the club when his contract expires this summer.
According to widespread reports in French media, Al Fateh has offered a €10m per year to Sanchez ahead of the next season. Marseille are also eager to keep the Chilean striker, but he’s yet to announce a final decision on his next move.
4- Sergio Ramos
Ramos is another Ligue 1 star who will become a free agent this summer.
The former Real Madrid star’s continuous fitness problems prevented him from reaching his peak at Paris Saint-German. As confirmed by Ramos himself, he will join a new club ahead of the next season.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Al Ahly have offered the 37-year-old an annual salary of $20m.
Ramos attracted interest from Al Nassr, who were keen to pair him up with Ronaldo last winter. But a move to the Jaddah side seems more likely as Al Nassr has different priorities in the market.
3- Romelu Lukaku
With his loan deal at Inter expiring, Lukaku is now a Chelsea player ahead of the next season.
According to the Telegraph, Chelsea’s newly-appointed boss Mauricio Pochettino is keen to give Luakaku “another chance” in the next campaign. But an offer from Saudi Arabia could convince the Belgian star to end his second spell at Stamford Bridge.
A report from Goal claims that Lukaku is open to a move to Al Hilal, with the striker having already travelled to Saudi Arabia to meet the club officials. The Saudi giants have reportedly offered Lukaku a two-season contract worth €50m.
2- N’golo Kante
Chelsea entered negotiations with Kante to renew his contract last season. But the Frenchman preferred to end his eight-year spell at the London club and leave as a free agent.
A €100m-per-year offer from Al Ittihad left little room for other clubs to enter the race to sign Kante. According to Sky Sports, the Frenchman has already reached an agreement to join the Jeddah side ahead of the next season.
1- Karim Benzema
Benzema is undoubtedly the biggest name to arrive at the Saudi Pro League since his former teammate Ronaldo.
The Balon d’Or winner was close to signing a contract extension at Real Madrid last month. But an offer from Al Ittihad changed things overnight as Benzema decided to continue his football in the middle east.
The 35-year-old has signed a two-year contract, earning around €100m per season at his new club. A €20m bonus is also included in Benzema’s deal as he will work as an ambassador for the 2030 World Cup, which Saudi Arabia is planning to host.