Jordan Henderson & 5 other superstars who have struggled in the Saudi Pro League

Cristiano Ronaldo has been tearing things up since moving over to Saudi Arabia, but former Liverpool, Real Madrid and PSG stars have struggled to make the same impact.

A flurry of Europe’s top stars joined the Saudi Pro League in the summer after being lured in by highly lucrative deals. While the standard of football isn’t the same as Europe’s top leagues, some superstars have struggled to adapt.

We’ve taken a closer look at the Saudi Pro League and have identified six big names who have struggled to make much of an impact so far.

Roberto Firmino

The Brazilian forward is already being linked with a move away from Al-Ahli, just a few months after he made the lucrative move.

Despite getting off to the perfect start by scoring a hat-trick on his debut, Firmino hasn’t lived up to the hype since. He’s only scored three league goals all season and has failed to hit the back of the net in his last 16 appearances.

According to talkSPORT, clubs from England, Turkey and fellow Saudi clubs are interested in taking Firmino in January. On the whole, it’s been a disappointing few months for the former Liverpool man.


The former Barcelona and PSG star was one of the biggest signings made by the Saudi Pro League in the summer, although Al Hilal haven’t seen much of a return on their investment so far.

He failed to score in any of his three league appearances and also missed a penalty against Al-Shabab. The 31-year-old then got injured while on international duty and is now set to miss the remainder of the season.

However, despite being on the sidelines, Neymar still ranks among the most valuable players in the league.

Neymar of Al Hilal celebrating

READ: Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t feature in the 10 most valuable players in the Saudi Pro League


Al-Ittihad splashed a club record £25million fee on Jota in the summer, only to then leave him out of their league squad entirely.

Saudi clubs are only able to register eight foreign players per squad and Jota ended up missing out on the Al-Ittihad squad, despite arriving for a record transfer.

Given his troublesome start to life in Saudi, it seems more than likely that the Portuguese winger will be off in January. A recent report from Saudi outlet Hi Koura has even claimed he could leave the club on a free transfer just a few months after joining.

Jordan Henderson

The England international started out reasonably well in his new surroundings with four assists in his first six matches. However, his form has tailed off in recent months.

Al-Ettifaq are currently enduring an eight-game winless run and Henderson has struggled to turn their fortunes around of late. Having only won one of their last 12 matches, it’s been a pretty miserable run of form for Steven Gerrard’s side.

Karim Benzema

The former Ballon d’Or winner has chipped in with a respectable nine league goals since making the move to Saudi, but all is not well with the 36-year-old.

Al-Ittihad have endured a disastrous start to the season and currently sit seventh in the table. The fans haven’t exactly taken to the former Real Madrid man either as he recently earned the nickname ‘Ben-Hazima’ which translates to ‘the son of defeat’ in Arabic. Ouch.

Karl Toko Ekambi

Despite scoring five goals so far, Ekambi hasn’t had a great time of late. The former Lyon forward is experiencing a five-game goal drought and he currently sits in the relegation zone with Abha.

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