Pep Guardiola, the manager of Manchester City, said on Saturday that the Saudi Pro League has “completely changed the market,” and he anticipates that a growing number of high-profile players would transfer there in the near future.
This week, City winger Riyad Mahrez became just the latest great name to relocate to Saudi football, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and countless other players from Europe’s best divisions. Mahrez became the latest big name to move to Saudi football this week.
Mahrez, an Algerian international player, has reportedly signed with Al-Ahli for a transfer price that might reach £30 million ($38.6 million).
On Saturday, it seemed as if Sadio Mane might be leaving his position at Bayern Munich.
“The Saudi league completely changed the market,” Guardiola remarked in Seoul on the day of City’s friendly with Atletico Madrid. The match was scheduled to take place later that day.
“No one could have foreseen a year ago, when Cristiano Ronaldo was the first player in the Saudi league, how many top, top quality, remarkable players were going to play in the league.
“In the years to come, we can expect it to become increasingly common.”
Even though the attacker was out of favor at the conclusion of his stint at the English and European champions, Guardiola said that he had a “special relationship” with Mahrez.
“Of all the athletes I’ve had the pleasure of seeing over my career, he’s one of my favorites.
“(He was) an important figure for the success we had during the five or six years that we were together.”