The Saudi government’s unorthodox bid to sign Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Luka Modric
Karim Benzema, Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos are out of contract this summer and have received offers from Saudi Arabia.
“Who’s calling, please?”. “It’s Saudi Arabia”. Can a country call you? Ask Real Madrid duo Karim Benzema and Luka Modric who, along with former teammate Sergio Ramos, have been on the receiving end of a rather unique proposition, shall we say, from the Saudi Arabian government, according to El Mundo.
How much have Benzema, Modric and Ramos been offered to play in Saudi Arabia?
The Spanish daily newspaper have reported that representatives from the Saudi government made personal phone calls to the trio (presumably Cristiano Ronaldo has their numbers…) and offered the veterans two-year contracts worth €30 million net per season. Not quite Ronaldo levels – he’s sitting pretty on a reported €75 million a year at Al Nassr – but none of the three would be too badly off, it’s fair to say.
All three are out of contract – Benzema and Modric at Real Madrid, Ramos at Paris Saint-Germain – in the summer and have yet to agree new deals, which means they would be free to make the move to…the Saudi Arabian government team?
Which Saudi Arabian clubs have offered to sign Benzema, Modric and Ramos?
In a bizarre twist, El Mundo report that the state have told the trio that they could pick whichever Saudi Pro League team they like, whether that be Ronaldo’s Al Nassr, their arch rivals Al Hilal (the most successful team in the country) or lowly Al Faisaly, who have never won a league title.
The call is likely to fall on deaf ears, however, at least in Modric’s case. The 37-year-old is thought to be keen on extending his stay at the Santiago Bernabéu by a year, while it would be a major surprise if Benzema, two years his junior and club captain, doesn’t follow suit.
The Middle East soccer revolution
Following the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the acquisition of PSG and Newcastle United, the hosting of various Super Cups from different European countries and, of course, the recruitment of Ronaldo, now soccer’s best-paid player, the Middle East soccer revolution is in full flow and this is the latest move to raise the profile of Saudi soccer ahead of the country’s bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2030.
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