The top Saudi Pro League targets - in pictures

Host of world stars on shortlist for move to Middle East

Powered by automated translation

The stage is set for a momentous summer of transfer activity and a transformative one for the Saudi Pro League and Middle East football in general.

In December, Al Nassr stunned the football world by completing a record-breaking deal to bring five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo to the kingdom.

The 37-year-old was reported to have signed a contract worth around $214 million a year after leaving Manchester United on a free transfer following a television interview in which he criticised the club's owners and manager Erik ten Hag.

“I am fortunate that I have won everything I set out to win in European football and feel now that this is the right moment to share my experience in Asia,” Ronaldo said after joining the club.

In recent months, Ronaldo's old La Liga rival Lionel Messi had been strongly linked with a move to Saudi powerhouses Al Hilal and was even suspended by his French club Paris Saint-Germain after taking an unauthorised family holiday in the kingdom. Messi has just played his final match for the reigning Ligue 1 champions.

On Sunday, it was announced that current Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema would be leaving Real Madrid at the end of the season with Saudi state broadcaster Al Ekhbariya reporting that champions Al Ittihad are expected to sign the 35-year-old striker.

Then on Monday, a source close to the negotiations told the AFP news agency that Saudi authorities are “in contact with more than 10 players, many of them won the World Cup or the Champions League, to join the Saudi league next season”.

In the gallery above, we take a look at the top 10 potential targets for the Saudi Pro League over the summer.

Updated: June 07, 2023, 5:10 PM