“As in life, many people do not accept changes. Football is not dead. Saudi Arabia did not kill him. Or is that what the Premier League does when Aston Villa sign Villarreal starters like Pau Torres? Or when Bayern took all the talent from Germany? It is the journalists who are most afraid because the actors escape their focus. But isn’t it better? A multipolar world where many more stories can be told with different approaches?

To understand what is happening in this summer market with Saudi Arabia, you need to go to sources such as: Abdulaziz Al RabahHe has been head of the Sports department of Al Arabiya, a 24-hour Arabic news channel, for ten years. He has been following his country’s football since the beginning of his professional career, writing and appearing in media outlets such as ‘BBC’ or ‘Kicker’ from Germany. Therefore, it has a vision that extends from local to global. Actually, He uses some Spanish expressions he learned through his broadcasts. League.

Behind the Prime Minister in transfer expenditures

Until recently, Al Rabah and its citizens watched the stars on television. They now have them on home soil thanks to the historic transfer market closing this Thursday. It achieved this in 279 operations with a joint expenditure of 955 million euros. He kept the European teams in suspense until the end. Betis lost Luiz Felipe but earned 22 million euros (plus three as a variable), Al-Ittihad’s payment for the centre-back.

Saudi clubs have spent more than twice as much as LaLiga (440) on transfers, but they are now light years behind the Premier (2.803 million in transfers). This is not counting the capital they earn at zero cost (in operations). Companies like Benzema’s. Beyond the numbers, Saudi Arabia has shown this, even if only by turning oil into investment. It is the ability to attract players at any stage of their career.

It has nothing to do with projects Qatar, United Arab Emirates or ChinaDesigned as ‘elephant graveyards’. And there is a structured talent attraction program along the lines of what US MLS is looking for, albeit with a different strategy, based on its great star, Leo Messi.

This is the other part of the world of non-European multipolar leagues, where Cristiano Ronaldo was the first big blow. “We changed the history of football,” the Al-Nassr player said this week, referring to the actions of the players who continue the dual challenge, which is the driving force of this sport. Expression repeated with irony but maintained insistently by the Portuguese With the list of signatures that arrived after landing in Arabia at the beginning of this year.

How Gabri Veiga’s signing broke the paradigm

At the top of the list of the most expensive operations is Neymar Jr., who ended his time at PSG and joined Al-Hilal for 90 million. It is located. The inclusion of every foreign player was treated as a strategic action designed within a ‘country project’ aimed at assembling a ‘league in the top 10 in the world’, although there was a ‘sports wash’ surrounding each move. According to Abdulaziz Al Rabah. The state wants to attract football’s attention with a global project that culminates in World Cup celebrations. For this reason Neymar, Malcolm, Otávio, Rúben Neves, Mitrovic, Fabinho, Milinkovic-Savic, Gabri Veiga, Mahrez or Roger Ibañez (ten most expensive operations) are the ambassadors of this idea.

Abdulaziz rewinds to talk about Al Rabah Gabri Veiga is the pearl of Celta and the Spanish national under-21 team Despite Napoli’s insistence, he went to Al-Ahli. He will pocket nearly 40 million in the three seasons he signed. And for now, like Laporte in the first team, he continues to be called up to the national team. The continuity of national team football will be proof of Saudi Arabia’s readiness Competing in the world of football.

“Gabri Veiga is one of my favorite football players. He is one of the greatest talents in the world. His acceptance of Al-Ahli’s offer represented a paradigm shift. It is a clear message to the world that the Saudi Pro League is a career opportunity. Therefore, it cannot be compared to the experience in China, for example, where the aim is to promote football in a country where there are no fans,” says Abdulaziz Al Rabah.

The head of the department insists on conveying the image of a country where football is an important part of the life of its citizens. “Saudi Arabia attracted its first stars in the 70s. After the 1978 World Cup held in Argentina, names such as Rivelino, who had been world champion in Mexico eight years earlier, came to the league. This was the bet of Al-Hilal, one of Arabia’s big four, who faced Real Madrid in the last Club World Cup final. They brought another legend to the bench, Mário Zagallo, who won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups and also coached the Saudi national team. Therefore, there is a deep football culture,” the sports journalist argues.

Audiovisual broadcasting will become a “global league”

The reference is important because the summer market meant new foreign coaches as well as players coming to Saudi Arabia. Roberto Mancini. The Italian left the ‘azzurra’ to lead the only national team capable of beating Argentina in Qatar and become the eventual world champion. According to Abdulaziz Al Rabah, this represented a public demonstration of evolution and the first major result of a process that had only been put into motion this summer. It started in 2018.

“This was the period when the international players who were behind the World Cup in Russia started to arrive. André Carrillo, Nordin Amrabat, Ahmed Musa, Bafétimbi Gomis or Ever Banega. And the intention was always the same: not to be an Arab league, but to be a truly global competition,” explains the Arab sports journalist.

Exhibition of matches is essential within this competitive and international expansion plan. Therefore, agreements were signed with operators. Channel+, DAZN For some European countries Fox SportsIn Spain, the matches are broadcast openly on Marca.com. The media exhibition is important to convince the world that the Saudi project does not only follow the logic of domestic consumption. Although it is capital to demonstrate that an industry and story has been created in line with the traditional tenets of sport as a mass spectacle.

Carrasco and the transition from meritocracy to job security

“There are 5-6 live football programs on television every day. The interviews are done and they last for hours. If you look at Twitter you will see that a normal match generates a lot of interaction. I know this, from Spain, people think about football all day, it is difficult to understand, but Arab The truth is the same for many consumer habits, they are very passionate, there are much more spectators for big matches. And the biggest climatic obstacle is the heat, especially in the summer months.“, analyzes Abdulaziz Al Rabah.

Saudi Arabia changed the rules of the game according to their checkbook following the departure of Yannick Carrasco from Atlético to Al-Shabab. One of the most sincere statements made in this summer market, showing the paradigm facing football. “I chose security. Is it an economical choice? Everything goes hand in hand: being a football player is a job. We should think twice. If there is an injury it can be difficult, especially because we have played so many matches. “A player must be mentally free,” he justified.

A reflection of his work away from European fans and their culture. moves away from the classic meritocracy based on titles and the sense of belonging to clubs that are companies. The only ones who can offer the best conditions there without any deep-rooted pressure are Saudi Arabia, who are clearly breaking the rules of football. And as Abdulaziz Al Rabah warned and guided this change of concept, this process has only just begun.