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Why new Saudi Pro League players are choosing to live in different country

Why new Saudi Pro League players are choosing to live in different country

A slew of huge players are moving to Saudi Arabia but it seems as though many won't be living in the country.

A plethora of the most high-profile players in European football have moved to Saudi Arabia but it's emerged that many are choosing to live elsewhere.

The Saudi Pro League are completely turning world football on its head, forking out huge wages and fees on household names as they bid to become one of the top leagues.

Cristiano Ronaldo was the flagship signing on an £173-million-a-year deal for Al Nassr but the five-time Ballon d'Or winner will be joined by a slew of top talent next term.

Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Marcelo Brozovic, Sergej Milinkovic Savic and Roberto Firmino are just some of the big guns to make the move.

Steven Gerrard signed on as manager of Al Ettifaq, who have offered Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson an eye-watering £700,000-a-week deal.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

For many of the devout Muslim players, adapting to a new lifestyle will not be an issue. But according to the Daily Mail,

plenty of newcomers and their families are electing against moving to Saudi.

Instead, it's said neighbouring Bahrain, with around 1.46 million inhabitants as per data from 2021, is a "hot-spot" and has emerged as a permanent residence for players, their relatives and close friends.

Stars and their agents have been looking at the Middle Eastern country as a base and a major selling point is that

alcohol is legal there.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

Unlike Saudi, Bahrain has bars, licensed restaurants and off-licences that are luxury and high-end - one being 'CUT', the American steakhouse by Michelin star chef Wolfgang Puck at the Four Seasons Bahrain Bay.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain World Trade Centre, Seef Mall and Avenues are ideal for shopping and have brands galore.

Amwaj Islands and East Riffa are two of the most popular places, while the country's capital, Manama, is only 43 miles away from where Gerrard's AL Ettifaq outfit are based in Dammam.

Saudi's capital Riyadh, where Al Nassr and Al Hilal both hail from, is 300 miles away.

Ronaldo, his other Georgina Rodriguez, children and large entourage initially stayed in a Four Seasons hotel and racked up a £250,000-a-month bill for 17 rooms before moving into a plush mansion.

Featured Image Credit: Getty, Cristiano Ronaldo & Al Hilal

Topics: Saudi Arabia, Saudi Pro League