Saleh Al-Nuaimah, Saudi football legend

Saleh Al-Nuaimah
Updated 11 November 2019

Saleh Al-Nuaimah, Saudi football legend

Saudi fans rejoiced to see their national team’s former captain, Saleh Al-Nuaimah holding the Asian Champions League (ACL) trophy before Al-Hilal defeated Urawa Reds Diamond of Japan 1-0 in the quarter-final first leg at the King Saud University Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday.

The appearance of the legendary Saudi defender brought back memories of continental achievements, most important of which were in 1984 and 1988 when the Saudi team won the titles with Al-Nuaimah captaining the Saudi team both years. He also won the award for best defender in both championships.

Despite his serious nature and strong personality, he was extremely quiet and polite. For that, he won the respect of all his colleagues and rival players.

Al-Nuaimah started his football career in 1976 when he joined the Riyadh-based Al-Hilal. The team’s coach at that team was the Englishman George Smith. His first match was against Al-Qadisiyah of Alkobar, where he scored his first professional goal. In 1978, Al-Nuaimah was selected for the national team. He has a record of 150 international appearances. Moreover, he was the first Saudi player to lift the Asian cup twice. 

In 1990, Al-Nuaimah officially announced his retirement. A ceremony was held at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium where elite Saudi and Arab footballers played a match against world stars, among whom were the Brazilian midfielder Zico and the Cameroonian star Roger Milla. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.


LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

Updated 15 December 2019

LA Italian eatery Madeo delights the palate in Riyadh Season pop-up

  • Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one

RIYADH: Renowned Italian restaurant Madeo has opened up in Al-Murabba for Riyadh Season. 

The pop-up has started brightly, and head chef Gianni Vietina invited Arab News to sample the menu and chat about his experience.

Vietina, in Saudi Arabia for the first time, said that he loved the location he had set up in, and was very happy to be opening up in the Kingdom. 

“The location is gorgeous. At night, with all the lights on, the music going, it’s very nice.”

Despite minor setbacks he faced while setting up, Vietina considers the experience to be a positive one and that the response was even better than he had expected. 

“Like anything new, you have quests, you have problems. Up to now, we’re doing pretty good. We are up and running. We’re comfortable now, which is a shame as we’re leaving pretty soon,” he said.

He added that he would repeat the experience in a heartbeat if he could: “They were nice enough to ask me to stay in Saudi a little longer, but I can’t. I need to go back home. But I would love to come back.”

He said that while he was not planning to open up a permanent restaurant in Saudi Arabia, he would not rule it out completely.  “I’ve been offered options, and friends have offered to show me locations while I’m here, but I can’t do it right now, I just opened a new restaurant two months ago,” he said.

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like.”

Gianni Vietina, Head chef of Madeo

The pop-up’s menu contains most of what the original restaurant offers, including his ever-popular penne amadeo and spaghetti bolognese, with the chefs using a combination of imported and locally sourced ingredients. 

“I chose the dishes that I know that most of the Saudis that visit my restaurant in Los Angeles like,” he told Arab News.

For the pop-up, Vietina has stuck to using halal and alcohol-free ingredients. 

“It was challenging at the beginning. But the bolognese at Amadeo doesn’t contain pork, and I realized after we tried cooking without wine that almost nothing changed. I actually prefer it,” he said.

Madeo is a favorite of Saudis visiting Los Angeles, with Vietina going so far as to describe the restaurant as a “Little Riyadh” on most evenings between July and September. 

He even recognizes some of the customers who have come into the Riyadh pop-up, and always stops over to greet them.

Upon sampling the menu, it’s easy to see why the food at Madeo has remained popular all these years. 

The eggplant parmigiana is a perfect blend of crusty cheese and silky smooth eggplant, with hints of basil and rosemary. 

The bolognese is rich, meaty and decadent, without being too heavy and greasy. And the penne Amadeo, which Vietina has been eating since his childhood, is a timeless classic of crushed tomato, basil, finished off with butter and Parmigiano Reggiano for a creamy, rich flavor.