El Clasico’ between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, which is called the world’s greatest rivalry, is also in Saudi Arabia.
The match between Al Hilal and Al Ittihad FC is called the ‘Saudi Clásico’. The two teams created a rivalry by dividing the Saudi Arabia league like Real Madrid and Barcelona. Al Hilal holds the record for most wins with 18, followed by Al Ittihad with 9 with Al Nasr. Runner-up is also Al-Hilal with 15 times, and Al Ittihad with 8 times.
Al-Hilal kept the top spot by winning three consecutive seasons from the 2019-20 season to the 2021-22 season. However, last season, Al Ittihad succeeded in counterattacking by winning the championship for the first time in 14 years since the 2008-09 season.
Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad changed their positions as challengers and champions, respectively. And side by side, they swept world-class players who commanded European football. It is the Saudi Arabia League in the 2023-24 season, which has risen in status due to the fierce competition for the championship with the’Saudi Classico’, which has become more spectacular than ever.
Al Ittihad is the most noteworthy team in this transfer market, in which the entire Saudi Arabian league is targeting the European market. Last June, he surprised the world by recruiting Ballon d’Or (2022) winner Karim Benzema. The term of the contract is until 2026. He had a tycoon named Benzema with a whopping 200 million euros a year.안전놀이터
Benzema was the beginning, not the end. Less than a month later, they signed another world-class midfielder, N’Golo Kante. It was revealed that Kante also promised to pay 100 million euros a year. In addition to Jota, who led the Celtic attack, recently Liverpool veteran midfielder Fabinho joined Al Ittihad.
Al Hilal is also a team that has received as much attention as Al Ittihad. Ruben Neves and Kalidou Koulibaly, who played an active role in the English Premier League, and Sergei Milinkovic Savic, one of Italy’s best midfielders in Serie A, all wore Al-Hilal uniforms. It has been revealed that Al-Hilal have spent 178 million euros on players so far in the transfer window this summer.
Al-Hilal is not the only reason Al-Hilal has received attention. Al-Hilal has attempted to sign Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. The transfer was not completed because the two players wanted to remain in Europe, but they showed off their financial power with an astronomical amount that European teams could not afford, such as offering 1 billion euros, including transfer fees and annual salaries, only for the recruitment of Mbappe.
Al Nasr, who finished second last season with Cristiano Ronaldo, will also try to win this season. Sadio Mane has joined as Ronaldo’s attacking partner, with Marcelo Brozovic supporting both players in midfield. Alex Teles, a side defender with attacking skills, joined the defensive line.
Al Itifak and Al Ahli are also evaluated as dark horses aiming for the championship. RIT Park is attracting attention with the reunion of Liverpool legends Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson. Al-Ahli recently joined Riyad Mahrez, who was the main player in Manchester City’s treble last season, and has previously built a team of players who played in the Premier League, such as Alan Saint-Maximin, Roberto Firmino and Edouard Mendy.
The competition for the top scorer is an atmosphere that is compressed into a bilateral confrontation between Ronaldo and Benzema, who were teammates during their Real Madrid days. Ronaldo showed off his scoring ability last season with 14 goals in 16 matches. This season, as Mane and Brozovic join, it is expected that there will be more scoring opportunities.
Moussa Dembele, who entered Saudi Arabia via Atletico Madrid in Spain and Olympique Lyonnais in France, is also considered a candidate for the top scorer. Dembele scored 21 goals in 30 appearances for Lyon in the 2021-22 season.