Some familiar faces are playing in the second tier

6 random forgotten ballers we can’t believe are now playing in the Saudi second division

The Saudi Pro League is full of superstars, but you’d be surprised by how many familiar faces are actually playing in the second tier of Saudi Arabian football.

It’s no secret that huge funds have been pumped into growing the sport in Saudi Arabia and as a result, a number of top players have ended up in the lower leagues.

We’ve taken a closer look at the Saudi First Division League and have picked out six players we can’t believe are currently playing there.

Andre Carrillo

Best known for his spell at Sporting and brief cameo at Watford, Carrillo now finds himself playing in the Saudi First Division League for table-toppers Al-Qadsiah.

The 32-year-old winger had spent the last five years playing for Al-Hilal in the top division, but he made the switch to Al-Qadsiah in the summer after being deemed surplus to requirements by his former employers.

Vurnon Anita

Remember Anita from his days with Ajax and Newcastle? Well, you can now find the 35-year-old strutting his stuff in the second tier of Saudi Arabia.

The holding midfielder was never the most naturally gifted of players, but you certainly couldn’t knock his work-rate. In 106 Premier League appearances, he made 201 tackles which isn’t too shabby.

After spending the last three years in the Netherlands, Anita recently made the switch to Al-Orobah, who currently sit second in the league.

Alan Shearer celebrates scoring his second penalty and fifth goal for Newcastle United against Sheffield Wednesday in the Premiership football match held at St James Park, Newcastle.

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Luciano Vietto

Vietto took the same route as Carrillo in the summer by leaving Al-Hilal to join Al-Qadsiah in the second tier. Unsurprisingly, the former Atletico Madrid forward has looked a cut above the competition in his new surroundings.

The 30-year-old is currently leading the race for the Golden Boot with 17 strikes in 27 appearances. He’s also produced nine assists in that time which makes him the most productive player in the league.

With Al-Qadsiah boasting a six-point lead at the top of the table, Vietto is on course to return to the Saudi Pro League next year.

Ryad Boudebouz

During his pomp, Boudebouz was an incredibly fun player to watch, especially during his Montpellier days. The Algerian attacking midfielder spent one year with Al-Ahli before dropping down to the second tier in the summer.

He penned a two-year deal with Ohod in the summer, who are currently languishing 13th in the table. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best move.

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Joel Robles

The former Atletico Madrid and Everton shot-stopper is undoubtedly the most high-profile goalkeeper in the league. Following his release from Leeds United in the summer, he was snapped up by Al-Qadsiah on a free transfer.

He’s done well in his new surroundings too as Al-Qadsiah boast the best defensive record in the league, having only conceded 23 goals in 27 games.

Max Power

We have to admit, Power ending up in the second tier of Saudi Arabian football wasn’t on our bingo card for 2023-24, but here we are.

Robbie Fowler was the man in charge when Al-Qadsiah signed the Wigan Athletic midfielder, although he ended up losing his job in October.

“Look, any footballer who says it’s not about the money is lying – everyone wants to be valued, so they take the best offer. I’ve got a wife and three children and every decision now is based around them,” Power said when he made the switch to Saudi.

“But we’re not talking telephone numbers, I’m not that profile of player. So I had to take a different route – let’s just say that I’ve come to terms with the fact that Jurgen Klopp isn’t going to call now I’m 30.”

You can’t knock his honesty.