‘Going shopping will not improve Saudi football’ – UEFA’s Aleksander Ceferin unconcerned by major deals

UEFA President Aleksandder Ceferin has brushed off concerns that European football may be losing power in the global market, as Saudi Arabian clubs use state money to bring in some of the largest names in the game.

After Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at Al Nassr at the turn of the year, more people started to take notice of the league and the money available there. Since, Ngolo Kante and Karim Benzema have both signed mammoth deals in the Gulf.

However Ceferin told Dutch channel NOS (via Cadena Cope) that it was not something European clubs should be concerned about.

“The players want to win the best competitions and those are in Europe, going shopping will not improve Saudi football.”

“Tell me a top player, young and who has gone to Saudi Arabia? The best players in Europe go to Saudi Arabia to earn more money at the end of their careers.”

Ceferin had also mentioned for the first time a potential salary cap in recent weeks, and he confirmed that talks were progressing well in that regard.

“Almost all the clubs I’ve spoken to agree with that. We’re not interested in two or three clubs having unlimited resources, otherwise our competitions will no longer matter.”

With rumours that Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, 26, may head to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal in the coming days, that would contradict Ceferin’s views.

That said, it remains likely that Neves is one of several cases that will move to Saudi Arabia without an offer from a top alternative. In addition to older veterans looking for a final stage of their career, this may hurt the middle order of European clubs, where players that are unlikely to earn life-securing amounts in Europe are offered exorbitant fees to play in Saudi Arabia.

Tags Aleksander Ceferin Karim Benzema Real Madrid Saudi Arabia UEFA
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