Saudi Arabia League best XI after Cristiano Ronaldo's stunning transfer to Al Nassr with host of ex-Prem stars | The Sun

CRISTIANO RONALDO completed his mega-money free transfer to Saudi Professional League side Al Nassr this week.

The two-and-a-half-year contract will earn the Portuguese superstar a staggering £173million per YEAR – or £3.3m every week.

Al Nassr have now filled their quota of eight overseas players.

But who are some of the top stars and former Premier League men currently plying their trade in Saudi Arabia?

SunSport creates the best XI of Ronaldo's new team-mates and rivals…

GK – David Ospina, Al-Nassr

The 127-cap Colombia goalkeeper spent five years on the books at Arsenal but made just 29 league appearances for the Gunners before he joined Napoli and then Al Nassr in the summer.


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DF – Alberto Botia, Al-Wehda

Botia started out in the La Masia academy and made his Barcelona debut replacing Gerard Pique – his only first-team appearance before spells elsewhere in Spain and Greece before heading to Saudi.

DF – Ahmed Hegazi, Al-Ittihad

Hegazi had three years at West Brom, playing in all 38 Premier League games in 2017-18 after his arrival on loan from his homeland Egypt.

DF – Naldo, Al-Taawoun

The Brazilian centre-back had spells with Udinese, Sporting, Getafe and most recently Antalyaspor before joining Al-Taawoun on a free in 2022.

RM – Helder Costa, Al-Ittihad

Costa came through the Benfica academy but made his only senior appearance in the Taca da Liga but made a name for himself at Wolves, firing them to promotion then making the switch permanent.

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The winger, who switched international allegiance from Portugal to Angola, joined Leeds permanently in 2020 but spent last season on loan at Valencia and is now in Saudi.

CM – Ever Banega, Al-Shabab

Boca Juniors, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan and Valencia, Banega certainly has an impressive CV.

Now the veteran Argentine midfielder is seeing his career out in the Middle East after 65 caps and an Olympic gold medal.

CM – Grzegorz Krychowiak, Al-Shabab

Another veteran midfielder whose best days are well behind him with Krychowiak once starring in PSG's starting XI.

The former West Brom loanee has two Europa League winner's medals in his trophy cabinet but now the 98-cap Poland ace is raking in the cash for Al Shabab.

CM – Luiz Gustavo, Al-Nassr

The experienced Brazilian operator enjoyed the best of his club career in Germany with Hoffenheim, Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg before spells in France and Turkey.

He joined Al Nassr in 2022 and the holding midfielder made a lightning start with four goals in his first eight matches. Cristiano who?

LM – Salem Al-Dawsari, Al-Hilal

Few had heard of Al-Dawsari outside of Saudi Arabia before his stunning winner against Argentina at the World Cup in November.

But he is a club legend at Al Hilal, making 341 appearances since breaking through from the youth team to the first team in 2011.

ST – Odion Ighalo, Al-Hilal

Ighalo became a household name during his three successful years at Watford then headed off to China but returned to the Premier League for a 12-month loan at Manchester United.

He managed five goals in his 23 appearances and then joined Al Shabab before switching across to rivals Al Hilal.

ST – Cristiano Ronaldo, Al-Nassr

The former Real Madrid and Juventus man had 18 months back at Old Trafford but the fairytale soon turned to a horror show and he was sacked following that Piers Morgan interview.

As he watched his great rival win the World Cup, the 37-year-old ignored his own promise to carry on at the top level and instead took the money offered by Al Nassr.

Manager – Nuno Espirito Santo, Al-Ittihad Club

Former Wolves and Tottenham boss Santo returned to the game in July following his horror stint in North London.

He held discussions with Wolves over a return in the autumn when Bruno Lage was sacked but stayed put as he eyes the title in Saudi.

Best of the rest

A few other notable mentions must go to former Watford wide man Andre Carrillo as well as ex-West Brom playmaker Matheus Pereira.

Felipe Caicedo made 35 Manchester City appearances between 2007 and 2009 but now plays for Abha.

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Yasser Al-Shahrani starred at left-back for Saudi Arabia at the World Cup while Abderrezak Hamdallah was part of the Morocco side that knocked Ronaldo's Portugal out on the way to the semi-finals.

Vincent Aboubakar scored one of the goals of the tournament with his super scoop for Cameroon and rounding off the stars of the Saudi Professional League is the current top goalscorer and former Benfica striker Talisca.

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