UEFA president, Aleksander Ceferin has fired a warning to Saudi Arabia over their transfer strategy for the Saudi Pro League this summer.
This comes after the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have made the move to the Middle East, with Wolves’ Ruben Neves the latest player to be linked with a switch to the Saudi Pro League.
Speaking to Netherlands broadcaster NOS, as quoted by AP, Ceferin was asked if he was wary of player exodus from Europe to join the Saudi league.
He replied: ‘No, no, no. I think that it’s mainly a mistake for Saudi Arabian football.
‘Why is that a problem for them? Because they should invest in academies, they should bring coaches, and they should develop their own players.’
Ceferin continued to compare the Saudi Pro League’s transfer strategy to that of China in the past as he heaped on the criticism.
‘The system of buying the players that almost ended their career is not the system that develops football,’ he continued.
‘It was a similar mistake in China when they all brought players who are at the end of their career.’
The UEFA president continued to pose the question: ‘Tell me one player who is top, top age and who starts his career and went to play in Saudi Arabia?
‘But it’s not about money only. Players want to win top competitions. And top competition is in Europe.’
When asked about whether European football had lost its top attractions following the departures of Ronaldo and Benzema, Ceferin said: ‘We didn’t lose them.
‘They still play football. At the end of their career some players go somewhere to earn some money.’