Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has highlighted the lack of human rights in Saudi Arabia and criticised players moving to the Middle Eastern state in the prime of their careers
Toni Kroos has criticised players moving to Saudi Arabia by claiming that it is “ruining football” while he would not go there due to human rights issues
The Real Madrid midfielder’s comments come a week after he labelled the decision of Gabri Veiga to leave Celta Vigo for the Middle East as ‘embarrasing’. Veiga had been strongly linked with a move to Liverpool this summer while a deal was Napoli was in place before he joined Al-Ahli.
Based in Jeddah, Al-Ahli have been one of the most active Saudi clubs in the summer transfer window. A multitude of Euro-based players have moved to Saudi Arabia this summer in a concentrated recruitment drive by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the nation funding transfers.
Roberto Firmino, Edouard Mendy, Franck Kessie, Allan Saint-Maximin, Merih Demiral, Riyad Mahrez and Roger Ibanez have all left European clubs for Al-Ahli this summer – while multiple others have also moved to Saudi Arabia.
Cristiano Ronaldo began the trend by joining Al-Nassr in January, while the likes of Sadio Mane, Fabinho, Karim Benzema, Ruben Neves, Alex Telles, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sadio Mane and Neymar have all moved to Saudi – with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah also linked
Kroos explained to Sports Illustrated that a lack of human rights in Saudi Arabia is “the one thing that would stop me from making such a move.” However, the midfielder added: “Everyone has to make this decision for themselves, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, who decided to do so towards the end of his career
“But it becomes very difficult when players who are in the middle of their careers and have the quality to play for top clubs in Europe decide to make such changes. And then it is said that it is an ambitious sporting decision to go there, but the truth is that it’s all about the money.