British journalist’s grounded assertion “Saudi can’t buy football with money… China has already shown it”

A British journalist recently criticized Saudi Arabia’s strategy for attracting European soccer stars with huge salaries. 

Reporter Nick Harris of Britain’s ‘Daily Mail’ wrote a column on the 27th, “China and Russia have shown that investing money in older players is not buying a credible football project. Saudi Arabia needs a real star and a global broadcasting rights contract.” do,” he claimed. 

Harris previously cited leagues that used the same strategy as examples. “The North American Soccer League (NASL) burned brighter for a while than it did in 1970 when Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Carlos Alberto played together for the New York Cosmos. But the NASL fever cooled off by 1985. I became a victim of the conflict.”

Then, the case of the Chinese Super League (CSL) and Saudi Liv Golf was introduced. Reporter Harris said, “CSL and LIV golf have other things in common. Each started spending like crazy and became a global sensation. But no one flocked to the TV rights. Commercial activity increased slightly, but continued. “There was no financial model available. Exhibitions are not real sports,” he said. “Almost no one cared about football itself. Some shows had fewer viewers than people in the stadium.” 

The reporter said, “To question the credibility of professional leagues is not to disparage the football culture in Saudi Arabia. Major Saudi clubs have been successful in the Asian Champions League, and club teams and national teams are ardently supported, as evidenced by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. But as the CSL has shown, money alone can’t buy the league’s안전놀이터 credibility.” 

Saudi clubs have been trying to sign European stars since Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al Nasr last December. Karim Benzema has already joined Al Ittihad from Real Madrid this summer, and N’Golo Kante also joined Al Ittihad after his contract with Chelsea expired. Al-Hilal failed to sign Lionel Messi, but brought in key players from Europe such as Ruben Neves and Kalidou Koulibaly.

Most of them chose to go to Saudi Arabia with huge salaries. Ronaldo receives an annual salary of 177 million pounds (approximately 293.5 billion won) at Al Nasr. Benzema also has an annual salary of 103 million pounds (approximately 170 billion won), and Kante’s annual salary is known to be 67 million pounds (approximately 111.1 billion won).

In the past, CSL also used the same strategy. Currently, the league itself is shaking. At that time, Hulk, Hamires, Graziano Pele, and Katlos Tevez received a lot of money and headed to the Chinese stage. However, financial problems arose due to foreign quota restrictions in 2017 and the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in 2019. In the end, Tianjin Quanjian became a citizen club due to the collapse of the parent company’s stock price, and Guangzhou FC’s Hengda Group received a bailout from the Chinese government. One of them, Suning Grop, even went bankrupt.

The Saudi league is also attracting players with huge amounts of money, as in previous cases. However, unless the league can make a profit on its own, it is difficult to see the distant future.

Photo = Getty Image Korea, captured from the official Twitter account of Altihad

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