Cristiano Ronaldo, five-time world best player, arrived in Saudi Arabia last season. Karim Benzema, the current best in the world, in this one. Luka Modric, the best in 2018, could go there. Messi, seven Golden Balls, came close. Why? Because there are a lot of petrodollars over there? Of course. But not only that.
Let’s start, then, with the money. Unlike the European giants, owned by individuals, companies or investment funds, the Saudi clubs, divided into clans, one club is owned by a cousin, the rival is owned by another cousin and so on, are state-owned. And the state has oil reserves valued at $1.4 trillion. In other words, almost unlimited money.
But the Saudi Arabian government also owns Newcastle United, football’s biggest and latest nouveau riche – why not take CR7 or Benzema there then? Or why doesn’t the French star return to his home country via Paris Saint-Germain (in the hands of the Qatari government)? Or why doesn’t Modric go to Manchester City (in the hands of the Abu Dhabi government in the UAE)? Because, as journalist Rafael Reis points out in his column on UOL Portal, unlike European clubs, under the tutelage of UEFA, Saudi clubs are not subject to “financial fair play”, i.e. limits on the amount of money injected by the owners if they do not present corresponding revenues.
On the other hand, according to the Sportspayouts website, CR7 earns almost 80% of Al-Nassr’s payroll while Kylian Mbappé, Europe’s highest paid player, “only” 33% of PSG’s investment in wages. In other words, top European clubs have to worry about sustaining strong, competitive and, as far as possible, homogeneous squads to win championships; the Saudis worry about having one star player to draw attention, the rest can be 20 workers.
Read more at Dinheiro Vivo
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