Saudi clubs are asking for the Champions League. Tough year for football.

Areg Nikoghosyan
6 min readAug 17, 2023

Saudis knock out places in the Champions League

They will tell about the clubs from Kazakhstan and Israel in the Champions League. But such countries have long gone to the right to become part of the UEFA zone. Saudi Arabia does not play in Euro 2024 qualifying. Although Čeferin could easily allow Saudi teams into the Champions League from 2025. Then the sheikhs will buy the rights to show European cups for a couple of billion euros, although recently they just stole a picture from the Qataris. Moreover, they added videos to the broadcast of someone else’s channel, where they called the hosts of the 2022 World Cup “terrorists”. Cool people are eager for the Champions League. The giants will have to fly 3–4 thousand kilometers for the match with the Saudis in the Champions League…

Qatari World Cup drove the players

Football officials are only interested in money. As a result, Courtois, Timber, Embolo, De Bruyne, Eder and a couple of other players had complex injuries at the start of the season. What unites the people on the list? All of them are participants of the Winter World Cup 2022. We won’t be surprised if there are more complex injuries in the fall. Live people are playing, and they were driven to the winter world championship, in which there was no point. The tournament could be held anywhere in the summer, there are always a lot of people who want to.

Messi and Ronaldo left Europe

An inevitable process, but an unpleasant one, because the era has burned out. Barcelona have no money for a contract with Lionel. And the reputation of Ronaldo turned out to be so tarnished that there was no European giant from the playoffs of the Champions League who would agree to shelter the Portuguese. The result is one in the desert sands and the other on a beach in Florida. Both play well. Messi led Inter Miami to the cup final with clubs from the MLS and the Mexican championship. Ronaldo won the Arab Champions Cup final, where the name makes it clear who participated in it. Cristiano is an old player, but Messi could spend two seasons in Europe. Did not work out…

The Saudis are buying up stars in batches

Benzema, Neymar, Mane, Mahrez, Koulibaly, Mendy … The list goes on. Instead of the Champions League, Milinkovic-Savic plays in the exhibition tournament and the national league, where there are still more bone-breakers than quality players. Gerrard and Henderson, Fabinho and Firmino are now in a league that will not be able to compete with the leaders if they do not recruit entire squads of European club stars.

In the USA they are asked to bring them Champions League games

UEFA President Čeferin does not hide the fact that negotiations are underway. Messi’s success in Miami raised interest in football in the US. The purchasing power of Americans impresses greedy football officials. Overseas can pay hundreds of dollars for valuable tickets. There was a full house at El Clasico at the training camp, sparrings of other giants from Europe are also actively watched. Čeferin sees millions of euros left to collect. They can take the Champions League final to the USA. European fans, who spent their whole lives preparing to go to the final of their favorite club, will lose the opportunity to rejoice at the glory hunter from New York.

Transfer market is like a scam

No price controls. Why is the transfer of 21-year-old Ecuadorian Caicedo worth 133 million euros? Experts estimate the contract at 75 million euros. The midfielder moved to Brighton two years ago for 28 million euros. Where did the amount that Chelsea paid come from? Football transfers are like money laundering schemes. And many champions have already played out. It’s sad to see how Barcelona can’t register new players. Or how the separation of the nuclear submarine from all the rest in terms of costs is growing. Saudi prices are also out of the blue, European clubs are correcting their balance, as Chelsea did. But the profit is small, and Boehly ’s expenses are in the region of a billion euros.

The giants have slipped into fraud more earlier

UEFA rules are not followed. But instead of initiating reforms, the clubs rushed to break the law. Champions Napoli were accused of what Juventus were accused of. But Agnelli and Nedved acted bolder, they were punished for other frauds. They are investigating 115 Manchester City schemes. Was the sheikh’s money pumped into the club through fictitious sponsors? You can’t spend so much relying on the honest income of a club that doesn’t always have a full house in the home arena. PSG also does not feed on the holy spirit. Fair play doesn’t work, only La Liga has tailed its clubs so as not to write obituaries about Barcelona in the Segunda later. There are many violations, but no reforms.

Mbappe spent half of his career in Ligue 1

At the age of the Frenchman, Cristiano, Messi and Ronaldo had the Golden Balls. Brazilian didn’t play for PSV at 24.5 years old. And Kylian was stuck in the French championship, from where Platini, Zidane and Henry fled at the first opportunity. The Mbappé saga has gone nasty as Kylian plays PSG however he wants. And its intermediate result upsets. The most promising player in the world remains at least a year in the championship, which almost no one watches. On December 20, Mbappe will turn twenty-five, half of his career behind, and did not sniff gunpowder in El Clasico. Only once unsuccessfully entered the Champions League final with PSG, but I’m used to flying out earlier.

Fingers crossed that there is no doping scandal that could kill the reputation of football. The carcasses of players over thirty years old look painfully good, as if diuretics and steroids are not alien to them. We also drive away the thoughts that some football rules are not specifically changed in order to leave the referees the opportunity to interpret individual episodes in two ways. And although the picture is intentionally black, like a square by Malevich, there is a positive outlook.

The era of mindless incompetent spending in football can suffocate itself. Perhaps the sheikhs only hastened the denouement. Then there will be bankruptcies of European giants, there will be a ruin for a while, but after that they will begin to put things in order. In the meantime, we are watching how some players fail the test for one of the deadly sins — greed. Others hold on, because Salah has so far refused to exchange Liverpool for money.