Saudi players could head to Europe’s big leagues

Saudi captain Osama Hawsawi has experience of playing abroad. (Reuters)
Updated 22 October 2017
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Saudi players could head to Europe’s big leagues

LONDON: The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) is planning to boost its preparations for next year’s World Cup by loaning out as many members of the national team as possible to European clubs in the January transfer window to gain top-level experience, according to reports.
The General Sports Authority and the Football Federation last week signed a deal with La Liga in a bid to take football in the Kingdom to the next level. It is being reported, by Middle East website Ahdaaf, that part of the agreement aims to accelerate the transfer of top Saudi players to La Liga teams ahead of the World Cup in Russia, the first the national team has qualified for in 12 years.
Scouts from several La Liga clubs are expected to arrive in the Kingdom over the next few weeks to take a closer look at the players listed for loan by the SAFF as part of the agreement. A shortlist of players likely to be on the plane to Russia next summer has been drawn up and discussions with clubs and leagues in Europe apparently commenced last month.
The Saudi FF’s plan is targeting placing their players with mid-table Spanish and Italian clubs, but are receptive to negotiating with well-heeled clubs elsewhere on the continent.
Ittihad winger Fahad Al-Muwallad is believed to have already secured a loan move to an unnamed Spanish club while representatives of Serie A side Torino reportedly watched Al Ahli center-back Motaz Hawsawi in his side’s 3-0 victory over Jeddah rivals Ittihad at the weekend. Captain Osama Hawsawi already has experience abroad having played for Anderlecht in Belgium in 2012.
Scouts from various European clubs will also be present at the Portugal vs Saudi Arabia friendly scheduled on November 10 in the Portuguese city of Leiria to assess prospective targets ahead of the January transfer window.


‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

Al-Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Musa (back right) joins (front left to right) Al-Hilal’s Ali Al-Habsi and Mohammad Jahfali and (back left) Saleh Alweheemed ahead of this weekend’s 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 December 2018
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‘It’s epic’: Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal stars tour incredible Ad Diriyah E Prix venue

  • 22 Formula E drivers will battle it out for glory this weekend
  • "I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports"

JEDDAH: They may be fierce rivals in the Saudi Pro League, but some of the biggest stars of Al-Hilal and Al-Nassr football got together to tour the venue of one of the most anticipated motor racing events in Saudi history.
The players soaked up the atmosphere as they visited the home of the 2018 ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E Prix.
This weekend the 2.495km track created within the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah will see 22 Formula E drivers battle it out for glory.
Goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi said: “I’m totally amazed by what they have built here, the track, the grandstands, the hospitality, it’s incredible what they’ve created for the Formula E.  It’s epic.
“As a professional athlete I’m very happy to see how Saudi Arabia is becoming a rising name for big sports, this will be a fiercely fought contest which is sure to thrill the fans.”

 (Left to right) Al Hilal star players Alberto Botia, Abdullah Almaiouf, Mohammad Jahfali, Ali Al-Habsi and Carlos Eduardo visit the new Formula E track at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage site of Ad Diriyah. (Photo/Supplied)

The racing extravaganza will also be accompanied by fan zones, entertainment and cultural attractions.
Three nights of music concerts will feature some of the biggest names in world. 
US smash hit OneRepublic and superstar DJ/producer David Guetta will wrap up the event after the race ends on Saturday with Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo and Amr Diab performing from Thursday.
Al Nassr’s Nigerian superstar Ahmed Mussa said: “We’re all about entertaining fans and bringing people together, that’s what football and sport is all about. These three nights will be a spectacle like nothing we’ve seen before and I urge our fans to come and be part of history.”