Plenty of Europe’s biggest stars headed to the Saudi Pro League in the summer, but it’s fair to say that some of them have made a larger impact than others.
It’s no secret that plenty of football’s biggest stars were attracted to the league with highly lucrative deals which have seen them become some of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Using figures provided by Capology, we have checked in on the 10 highest earners in the Saudi Pro League and have assessed how they have done in 2023-24 so far.
10. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic – £414,600 per week
The former Lazio midfielder has seamlessly made the transition to Saudi Arabia this season. Al Hilal currently boast a seven point lead at the top of the table and Milinkovic-Savic has been bossing the midfield alongside Ruben Neves.
In 16 league appearances, the 28-year-old has already chipped in with an impressive 11 goal contributions. His hat trick against Abha in December was the highlight of his season so far.
9. Aleksandar Mitrovic – £414,600 per week
Having come off the back of an excellent campaign with Fulham, it’s no surprise that Mitrovic has instantly taken to his new surroundings at Al Hilal.
The Serbian forward has scored 18 league goals since joining and is hot on the heels of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Golden Boot race. For over £400,000 per week, you’d be expecting those kinds of elite numbers.
8. N’Golo Kante – £414,600 per week
It’s fair to say that Al-Ittihad haven’t lived up to expectations this season. Last season’s champions currently sit seventh in the league and they failed to pull up many trees at the Club World Cup either.
Unlike his final years at Chelsea, Kante has managed to remain injury-free in his new surroundings, although he’s not exactly pulled up many trees.
7. Kalidou Koulibaly – £575,465 per week
On the back of a poor season with Chelsea, Koulibaly has turned his fortunes around in Saudi Arabia. The 32-year-old has been part of an Al-Hilal defence that have conceded just nine goals so far this season.
If they manage to maintain their current record of conceding just 0.47 goals per game, they will only concede 16 goals throughout the entire campaign.
6. Jordan Henderson – £663,631 per week
The former Liverpool captain is reportedly already looking for a way out of Al-Ettifaq. Steven Gerrard’s side have only won one of their last 12 matches and the Daily Mail have reported that Henderson is already ‘eager’ to return to the Premier League.
He’s not the only superstar who has struggled to make an impact in Saudi Arabia either.
5. Sadio Mane – £663,631 per week
It’s fair to say that Mane’s spell with Bayern Munich didn’t go to plan, but he has got himself back on track with Al-Nassr of late.
The 31-year-old has formed a partnership with Ronaldo in recent months and he’s chipped in with 12 goal contributions so far. If Al-Nassr are going to close the gap on Al Hilal at the top, Mane will have a key role to play.
4. Riyad Mahrez – £865,686 per week
The Algerian winger has sprinkled his stardust on the Al-Ahli forward line. From a goalscoring and creative point of view, Mahrez has looked sharp in 2023-24 with 15 goal contributions so far.
After winning 11 trophies in five years at Manchester City, Mahrez was ready for a fresh challenge in the summer and he’s not disappointed so far.
“It was really me who decided to leave,” Mahrez told L’Equipe. “I felt that this opportunity (to join Al-Ahli) would not come again. Maybe it was time to leave because I had spent five years at City and won everything.”
— Roshn Saudi League (@SPL_EN) December 31, 2023
3. Karim Benzema – £1,658,402 per week
A return of nine goals in 15 matches is by no means disastrous, but Benzema hasn’t had a great time in Saudi of late. He missed a penalty as Al-Ittihad crashed out of the Club World Cup and there seem to be some disgruntled fans right now.
Given Al-Ittihad’s underperformance in the league up until this point, plenty of fans frustration has been angled towards the former Real Madrid star.
The 36-year-old even earned himself the nickname ‘Ben-Hazima’ which translates to ‘the son of defeat’ in Arabic.
2. Neymar – £1,658,402 per week
Al Hilal are enjoying one of their best-ever starts to a season, but Neymar hasn’t been able to make much of a contribution. The 31-year-old featured in just three league matches before he suffered an ACL injury on international duty.
Since joining the Saudi Pro League in August, Neymar will have earned around £35million and he’s barely kicked a football.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £3,316,804 per week
He’s earning a king’s ransom in Saudi Arabia, but Ronaldo has been worth every penny with his performances of late. The 38-year-old has exponentially grown the sport in the region and he’s still delivering the goods on the pitch.
He managed to hit the back of the net 54 times in 2023 for club and country which was the most of any player in world football. Sometimes you just need to sit back and applaud greatness.