UEFA President Slams Saudi Transfer Strategy

UEFA President, Aleksander Ceferin, has expressed his disapproval of the transfer strategies employed by Saudi clubs, stating that buying players at the end of their careers does not contribute to the development of football.

Ceferin drew parallels with the mistakes made in the Chinese Super League and urged Saudi clubs to focus on investing in their own homegrown players.

The criticism follows the high-profile signings of Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante, who followed Cristiano Ronaldo in joining the Saudi Pro League (SPL).

Ronaldo, aged 38, became the SPL’s most significant signing to date when he joined Al-Nassr on a two-year contract in January. It is reported that he earns €200 million per year with the club.

Benzema, 35, Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate, recently joined Al Ittihad and is on the verge of being joined by compatriot Kante, 32, at an SPL club.

Ceferin expressed his concern, highlighting that Saudi Arabia risks making similar mistakes as the Chinese Super League.

He emphasized the need to prioritize investment in academies, coaching, and the development of local players, rather than relying heavily on the recruitment of aging stars.

In his statement, Ceferin stated, “Saudi transfer strategy is a mistake for Saudi football. They should invest that money in academies, bring coaches, and develop their own players.

Buying players at the end of their careers is not a system that develops football… Similar mistakes in China.”

The comments from the UEFA President underscore the significance of nurturing young talent and cultivating sustainable football development within national leagues.

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