Manchester City midfielder Rodri has called for European football’s authorities to ‘control’ the exodus of players heading to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Pro League has emerged as a major force in football this summer with the division’s sides spending more than £700m in a bid to attract overseas talent.
SPL teams ranked behind only the Premier League for transfer spending, with names including Neymar and Karim Benzema among those to have swapped Europe for the Middle East.
The recruitment drives comes after the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) announced it would take 75% ownership of the league’s four major clubs, Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, with the ambition to attract a host of top players to the league.
Rodri has called on European football to make effort to stop the departure of top talent, amid the increased threat of losing the continent’s finest footballers to Saudi Arabia.
“European football loses with this situation and in the end it’s a very particular opinion,” the Spaniard said, as per Sky Sports.
“The players who decided to go out to these leagues, totally understandable, because of the amount of money they are offering and that I would take it to be a personal issue. Obviously, we Europeans so to speak, don’t like it that much.
“I imagine that we will have to somehow control this escape, as you say, of talented players, because it is true that at first it seemed they were only veteran players at the end of their careers, but we are seeing that they are not, that there are players of my age or younger who are choosing to go there.”