Saudi Arabia has set in motion, in recent years, a plan to make the Middle Eastern country the centre of media attention in world sport.
In January, with the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo to Al Nassr, an important step was taken in this direction, and in this transfer market, Karim Benzema, one of the most important names in Real Madrid’s recent history, has moved to Al Ittihad.
The Saudi Public Investment Fund’s takeover of the country’s four biggest clubs – Al Ittihad, Al Nassr, Al Hilal and Al Ahli – has prompted a race for some of Europe’s most highly-rated players, with the likes of N’Golo Kanté, Hakim Zyech, Rúben Neves, Koulibaly, Heung-Min Son and Riyad Mahrez, among many others, being linked with Saudi clubs.
In the recent past, a number of sporting competitions have been held on Saudi soil. The Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Super Golf League and the Spanish football Super Cup are just a few examples of events that demonstrate the country’s ability to attract renowned competitions, or even organise them from scratch, sustained by the formidable financial strength of the Saudi State’s Public Investment Fund.
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