‘Modric, Benzema and Messi’: The Saudi Pro League are dreaming beyond Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr in the Saudi Pro League at the beginning of 2023, paving the way for some of the game's biggest stars to potentially join him in the Middle East in the coming years.
Lionel Messi is among them, having been linked with a bumper €400 million a year move to Al-Nassr's rivals, Al-Hilal when his contract with PSG expires in the summer.
Messi's PSG played an exhibition game against a Saudi Pro League XI comprised of players from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, Ronaldo among them, in January. PSG won the entertaining game 5-4, giving the people of the Middle East a glimpse at what it might be like if the Argentine ever decides to move there.
It's certainly something everyone in Saudi Arabia wants, too.
“Messi would be the dream,” sports journalist Khaled Al-Arafah explained to FourFourTwo.
“It was an amazing moment to have both players on the pitch in Saudi Arabia in January – hopefully one day they’ll face each other officially in our domestic league.
“But even if it’s not Messi, I’m 99 per cent sure you’ll see more outstanding stars in the Saudi Pro League at the start of next season.”
Kaku is a Paraguyan international who currently plays in the Saudi Pro League with Al-Taawoun. For the 28-year-old, the possibility of more high-profile players joining Ronaldo is an exciting prospect, one he believes will have the twin benefit of improving standards ever more and creating a more visible shop window for the talent already competing in the Saudi League.
“We heard the talk about Luka Modric, Karim Benzema and Lionel Messi,” Kaku told FFT. “The league is growing by leaps and bounds, and that makes it more attractive.
"Bringing in big-name players is an important detail that will only improve things, and I feel it can push me on to become one of the best in the league, too. It’s my desire to reach Europe – now, by playing well here, I think I can have my chance.”