Esteve Calzada Al-HilalGetty Images

Al-Hilal pull off major coup as they land Esteve Calzada from Manchester City as new CEO

Al-Hilal have confirmed the appointment of Esteve Calzada as the club's new CEO.

Calzada's work at City contributed to the Premier League champions announcing record-breaking £712 million ($887m) revenue - a £99.8m ($124m) increase from the year before - for the 2022-23 season.

The Spaniard also made a big impact at Barcelona, where he worked as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer between 2002 and 2007 and helped oversee an enormous economic and commercial boost at the Liga giants.

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Calzada's appointment at Al-Hilal is a major coup for the most successful side in the Saudi Pro League, who have made headlines across the globe for signing some of the biggest names in European football, including Neymar, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ruben Neves and top scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Indeed, it is the latest statement of intent from Saudi Arabian football, which has grown exponentially over recent years and, aside from Al-Hilal's superstar players, boasts the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane playing in its top division.

The strides forward aren't just being made at domestic league level either - Saudi Arabia earned plaudits for their impressive performance at the 2022 World Cup, seeing them miraculously beat eventual winners Argentina in the group stages, a feat that will go down as one of the biggest shocks in history and will be savoured by players and fans alike for many years to come.

The women's game has also seen positive benefits, with the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) having introduced a dedicated Women's Football Department in 2019, offering a platform for women and girls to pursue their dreams in football that simply wasn't possible in the past.

Saudi Arabia is also set to win the rights to host the 2034 men's World Cup, as well as the women's tournament the following year, with excitement in the region understandably at an all-time high.

Announcing Calzada's appointment, an official statement from Al-Hilal read: "Under the leadership of Mr. Fahad Bin Saad Bin Nafel, the board of directors at Al-Hilal Club have made the decision to appoint the Spaniard Esteve Calzada to be their new CEO starting from January 2024, taking over from Mr. Abdullah Al-Jarboua.

"With a range of senior positions of experience at top European clubs - such as Manchester City and FC Barcelona - and recognized as one of the most renowned sports marketers, Mr. Calzada has been welcomed to the role by the Board and the team looks forward to working together for the benefit of Al-Hilal, their goals and successes.

"Mr. Calzada has accumulated more than two decades of experience as a senior executive in the sports sector, beginning his tenure in 2002 where he served as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer of FC Barcelona and most recently serving as Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at City Football Group since 2019. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and an MBA from ESADE Business School.

"The decision to appoint M. Calzada has also been accompanied with gratitude to Mr. Al-Jarboua for his accomplishments in his long role at Al-Hilal as a player, administrator, board member and CEO. His experience and skill has been acknowledged as a large contribution to the success of the Club, and the Board extend their greatest wishes to him as he continues his career."