In the winter of 2022, Cristiano Ronaldo made a significant move to the Saudi Pro League, joining Al-Nassr in a deal that propelled him to the status of the highest-earning footballer in the world.
Since then, an unprecedented number of players from Europe’s top 5 leagues have followed suit, making their way to the Saudi Pro League. It seems to have become the latest preferred destination for those seeking respite from the challenges of Europe’s premier leagues.
Moreover, many African internationals have also embraced this move, contributing to the emergence of a new football powerhouse in the league. This rise of African stars in yet another part of the world has had a positive influence on sports betting, too, with more people checking out https://www.futfanatico.com/ to access the best betting sites in Africa for some fun.
Here, we highlight three African players who have caught attention with their transition:
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Mane, an integral part of Liverpool’s most illustrious period, formed a dynamic trio with Firmino and Mo Salah that stood as one of the most formidable attacking forces in club football history. This partnership yielded triumphs in both the Premier League and the Champions League. Mane’s exceptional performance during this era attracted interest from various top-tier clubs. In the summer of ’22, Mane bid farewell to Liverpool, venturing into a new chapter with Bayern Munich. While his initial matches with the German side showcased his brilliance, an unfortunate major injury sidelined him for an extended period.
Regrettably, Mane’s relationship with fans and teammates soured over time, exacerbated by a clash with Leroy Sane. With Thomas Tuchel replacing Julius Nagelsmann as coach, the writing was on the wall for Mane’s future at the club. Despite his desire to persist and fight for his spot, Mane ultimately recognized the inevitable and embraced a move to Al Nassr, joining forces with Cristiano Ronaldo, Brozovic, Alex Telles, and Talisca, among others.
Riyad Mahrez’s journey from triumphing with Leicester City in the Premier League to securing multiple league titles, FA Cups, Carabao Cups, and even the Champions League with Manchester City exemplifies a footballing odyssey within England.
As one of the premier league’s standout wingers, Mahrez significantly contributed to Guardiola’s formidable squad for an extended period. Nevertheless, his final season at the club witnessed a decline in favor with the manager, leading to limited playtime. Guardiola’s preference for Bernardo Silva on the right wing further marginalized Mahrez to a bench role.
For Mahrez, the allure of Saudi Arabia beckoned irresistibly, prompting his move to Al Ahli, where he joined forces with Roberto Firmino and Allan Saint-Maximin. Mahrez has enthusiastically embraced his new adventure, netting two goals and delivering several crucial assists.
Edouard Mendy’s career trajectory saw him leap from Rennes to Chelsea, where he swiftly ascended into the first team, dislodging Kepa Arrizabalaga from his position as the primary goalkeeper. Mendy’s meteoric rise culminated in clinching the Champions League title alongside his Chelsea teammates. His exceptional performance earned him the title of FIFA’s Best Goalkeeper in 2020. However, injuries, shifts in ownership, and managerial changes ushered in a period of uncertainty for Mendy. He rapidly descended the pecking order he had climbed so swiftly.
In light of these developments, Chelsea’s new ownership determined that Mendy’s career path lay elsewhere. Consequently, Mendy, alongside Riyadh Mahrez, embarked on a new phase with Al Ahli, resuming his professional journey.
Aside from the aforementioned trio, players like Seko Fofana and Frank Kessie have also ventured into the Saudi Pro League. The question remains: Can the sudden ascendancy of the Saudi Pro League be sustained?