• Loading stock data...
Friday, February 23, 2024
Rates for the 2024 Best Venue Awards increase this Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET

Winter Brings Big Saudi Pro League Exits After $1B Summer

  • English star Jordan Henderson has left the Saudi Pro League.
  • Last summer, the SPL spent almost $1 billion in the transfer market.
Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

“I think right now we are better.”

That’s what Cristiano Ronaldo recently said about the Saudi Pro League, where he has played since 2023, in comparison to France’s Ligue 1. A bold statement from the 38-year-old superstar, who is earning up to $200 million a year at Al Nassr. According to Global Football Rankings, Ligue 1 is the fifth-most competitive league in the world, while the SPL doesn’t crack its list of the top 33 leagues.

No matter Ronaldo’s thoughts, the SPL has been putting significant money into improving its on-field status. During last summer’s transfer window, the league spent nearly $1 billion on player transfers. But two-thirds of the way through this January transfer window, the SPL hasn’t made a significant splash and already lost one of its major additions of 2023.

Jordan Henderson, the former Liverpool captain who joined Al-Ettifaq over the summer, has transferred to Dutch side Ajax. The move didn’t cost Ajax anything, but Henderson had to terminate his contract with the Saudi club that was believed to be worth more than $20 million a year. The Telegraph reported Henderson’s salary was being deferred, and he may never see a penny of it. Henderson called the move a “football decision” and apologized to the LGBTQ+ community, which has raised red flags about Saudi human rights violations.

Beyond Henderson’s move, 2022 Ballon d’Or winner and longtime Real Madrid star Karim Benzema, who joined Saudi side Al-Ittihad last year, is said to be considering a transfer back to a European club. Chelsea and Arsenal are among the clubs reportedly interested in Benzema, who signed a contract worth more than $100 million a year in Saudi Arabia.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Making Sense of What More CFP Expansion Would Mean

Leaders of the CFP discussed the potential for a 14- and even 16-team Playoff.

MLB Uniform Furor: Lighter, More Flexible … and See-Through

See-through uniform pants create a social media stir, extending blowback on the new design.

‘Gotta Get in First’: For LIV Golfers, a New Path to the Green Jacket

Augusta National extended special invitations to three international golfers.

Where Are the A’s Playing Next Year? Let’s Weigh the Options

Highly anticipated decision on MLB team’s temporary home could arrive within weeks.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How the Negro Leagues Are Staying in the Game

0:00
0:00

Featured Today

Sabrina-Steph Wasn’t the ‘Battle of the Sexes’—But It Was Part of the Bigger War

The competition could play a factor in increasing the WNBA’s media value.
NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23), in a Star Wars rebel alliance X-wing fighter pilot-inspired race suit, motions to the crowd to get louder during the driver introductions for the Cup Series Championship race at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale on Nov. 5, 2023.
February 17, 2024

Celebrity Owners, International Ambitions, and $7B Media Deals: Welcome to the New NASCAR

NASCAR boldly keeps pace with the increasingly competitive sports and entertainment world.
February 16, 2024

Wilson Introduced an Airless Basketball for $2,500. We Had Questions

The black, 3D-printed ball appeared in last year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
Emily Henegar, a baker and content creator, made a batch of NFL-inspired cookies featuring Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.
February 11, 2024

The ‘Life-Changing’ Economy of Taylor Swift’s NFL Outfits

Appearing in Swift’s game-day wardrobe has been “life-changing” for small businesses.

Careers

Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Finance Manager
FanDuel
New York, NY
Senior Technical Artist - Sports Technology
EA Sports
Orlando, FL
Assistant Manager, Affiliate Operations
Adidas
Portland, OR
NFL salary cap

NFL Salary Cap Sees Historic Spike Ahead of 2024 Season

Each franchise was allotted $255.4M, which is a $30M increase for each team.
MLB Arizona
February 22, 2024

MLB Seeks Minimum Wage Exemption in Arizona

The system is for minor league players due to a previously agreed-on labor agreement.
February 23, 2024

Despite Nike’s Efforts, MLB Uniform Controversy Isn’t Looking Good

Manufacturer touts product benefits but ignores complaints of see-through fabric.
Sponsored

Live Sports Are Now High-Tech Experiences

Oracle is leading the technology revolution happening in stadiums across the world.
February 21, 2024

Messi Returns to MLS With the Weight of the League on His Shoulders

Inter Miami kicks off the MLS season against Real Salt Lake.
February 20, 2024

Pundits Bashed a 397-Point NBA All-Star Game—But Fans Still Watched

Silver struggles to conceal his frustration with the game’s lack of competitiveness.
MLS refs
February 20, 2024

The MLS Is Starting Its Season With Replacement Refs—Here’s Why

Union refs wanted a better deal, especially with traveling and scheduling.
February 19, 2024

The Great Outdoors: NHL Sets Attendance Records With MetLife Stadium Series Games

There’s no evidence of waning enthusiasm for the league’s non-arena outings.