In the latest preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the Saudi Arabian Football Federation and General Sports Authority managed to strike up a partnership with La Liga to work on improving football in the nation.
The first steps that were taken was the movement of 3 Saudi players on loan to La Liga clubs, and 6 more players to Segunda Division clubs in Spain on loan too.
Winger Fahad Al Muwallad of Al Ittihad, the man who scored the qualifying goal for Saudi Arabia, moved to Levante. Another winger in Salem Al Dossary – Al Hilal’s best player in recent months – has signed for Villareal. The final player to move to the La Liga was Al Nassr’s attacking midfielder Yahia Al Shehri, who signed for Leganes.
Moving onto the Segunda Division, Abdulmajeed Al Sulayhem (Al Shabab) and Nooh Al Moosa (Al Fateh) signed for Rayo Vallecano and Real Valladolid respectively. Saudi-born players who became eligible to play as Saudis after a new rule that was issued over the last few years were also sent out on loan, with Jaber Mostafa moving to Villareal B, Marwan Othman to Leganes B, Abdullah Al Hamdan to Sporting Gijon and Ali Al-Nimr to Numancia.