Saudi Arabia is using the power of “oil money” to attract the world’s soccer superstars.
Starting with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Saudi Arabia’s Al Nasr has offered Ronaldo a €200 million ($290 million) salary. Then there’s Real Madrid legend Karim Benzema in an Al Ittihad jersey, with a €100 million ($140 million) contract.
There are plenty of other names waiting in the wings. N’Golo Kante is one of them. Lionel Messi, who is heading to American Major League Soccer club Inter Miami, was also heavily pursued by Al Hilal. The offer was more than 400 million euros ($559 million) per year.
How many other players would be able to resist such a huge offer?
French publication Foot Mercato has released a list of players who are under Saudi Arabia’s attack. It’s a superstar army.
Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Roberto Firmino, Hugo Llorez, Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, and Ilkay Gundogan read like a world all-star team.
And then there’s one more player. Son Heung-min. He was also targeted by Saudi Arabia. Many local media outlets, including this one, have covered the rumor of Son Heung-min moving to Saudi Arabia.
Son Heung-min to Saudi Arabia. Sadness sets in first. The players mentioned above are superstars, but they’re in their 30s, which means they’re past their prime. Not a single one of them is in their prime.
“Ronaldo, Messi, Benzema and Modric, the players who came to Saudi Arabia and who Saudi Arabia wants, have an average age of 36,” Foot Mercato emphasized.
That means they are no longer at the top of their game in Europe. It’s like Saudi Arabia is buying their fame.
This is where Son Heung-min comes in. Son is now over 30 years old. He”s been heavily criticized for his poor performances last season. It”s easy to see how the Saudis might have viewed him.
But, in a way, he”s amazing. He”s the only Asian player on this list.
Tbrfootball from the United Kingdom explained why Saudi Arabia wanted Son Heung-min.
“Not only is he a world-class talent, but he is also one of the most marketable soccer players on the planet. He is idolized by millions of people, especially in South Korea. His presence will open up the Saudi Arabian league to a whole new market. As we have seen with Tottenham, Korean fans are willing to travel far to see their heroes play.” 스포츠토토
Saudi Arabia is not reaching out to just any player. It only approached players who were recognized as the best. The best players available in South Korea and Asia. That’s what oil money is willing to pay for Son Heung-min. The fact that he was one of the best players from Asia to play in Europe was proven once again by Saudi Arabia’s desire.
Value is recognized, but not accepted.