Saudi Professional League the heliport of international foreign football stars

The Saudi Professionals League witnesses a high number of foreign players with various nationalities during the ongoing 2018-19 season.

The Saudi Professional League is the top division of Association football league in Saudi Arabia

and it was known as the Abdul Latif Jameel League, or Dawry Jameel, as it was sponsored by Abdul Latif Jameel for six years.

The first season of the competition was held in 1976–77, in which it was won by Al-Hilal.

which is also the most successful team, holding 15 titles in its’ history, and is the current title-holder (2017–18).

Football history in the kingdom

Football in Saudi Arabia was organized on a regional basis, with the only nationwide tournament being the King’s Cup.

then in 1976 it was deemed that local football, and transportation links, have improved sufficiently to organize a national league.

The Saudi League was launched with 16 clubs participating, and only 8 of them surviving in the next season.

This decision was made in order to decide who relegates to the first division, and who rightfully stays on the premier league.

In 1981 it was decided to increase the number of clubs and add a second division.

Ranking league

The league competition for the 1981–82, known as the ranking league, featured 18 clubs with the top eight qualifying for the first division and the bottom ten to the new second division.

The number of first division clubs was later increased to 12 in the 1984–85 season.

In 1990 it was decided to revamp local competitions and to introduce professional football.

A new league championship was formed called “The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques League Cup”, which was a two-stage championship.

The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques League Cup

A new league championship was formed called “The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques League Cup”, which was a two-stage championship.

The first stage was a regular double round-robin league competition with the top 4 qualifying to the final knockout stage, called the golden square.

Clubs were allowed to sign players on a professional basis making the league semi professional.

The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup

In 2007 it was decided to split the two stages, with the league reverting to a standard double round-robin competition.

and a new domestic competition cup competition formed called “The Custodian of The Two Holy Mosques Champions Cup”.

This cup will feature the top six finishers in the league plus the winners of the Crown Prince Cup and the Prince Faisal Cup.

This format will take effect from the 2007–08 season onwards.

As of 2008, four teams from Saudi Arabia qualify for the AFC Champions League annually.

This includes the top three teams of the AJL together with the winner of the King Cup.

If the winner of the King Cup is also among the four top ALJ teams then the fourth best ALJ team qualifies to the extensions and if the winner of the King Cup is under the four top ALJ teams

then the fourth team will not qualify and the third team will qualify for the extension.

Foreign players in the Saudi Professionals League:

South America & Caribbean players:

  • Brazilian attacking midfielder Giuliano plays for Al-Nasr
  • Uruguayan midfielder Brahian Aleman plays for Al-Ettifaq
  • Colombian right winger Danilo Moreno plays for Al-Feiha
  • Chile center back Paulo Diaz plays for Al-Ahli Jeddah
  • Venezuela winger Romulo Otero plays for Al-Wahda Mekka
  • Argentinian midfielder Cristian Guanca plays for Al-Ettifaq
  • Peru Peru winger Andre Carrillo plays for Al-Hilal Riyadh
  • Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Khaleem Hyland plays for Al-Faisaly

European players:

  • Romanian attacking midfielder Nicolae Stanciu plays for Al-Ahli Jeddah
  • Serbian forward Aleksandar Prijovic plays for Al-Ittihad Jeddah
  • Spain’s forward Jonathan Soriano plays for Al-Hilal Riyadh
  • Portuguese winger Diogo Salomao plays for Al-Hazm
  • Greece midfielder Alexandros Tziolis plays for Al-Feiha FC
  • Ukraine goalie Maksym Koval plays for Al-Fateh
  • Sweden midfielder Nahir Besara plays for Al-Feiha FC
  • France forward Bafetimbi Gomis plays for Al-Hilal Riyadh
  • Slovakia midfielder Filip Kiss plays for Al-Ettifaq
  • Belarus midfielder Nikita Korzun plays for Al-Fateh
  • Italian striker Sebastian Giovinco plays for Al-Hilal Riyadh
  • Belgium forward Ilombe Mboyo plays for Al-Raed
  • Croatia defender Ante Puljic plays for Al-Faisaly
  • Georgia defender Zurab Tsiskaridze plays for Al-Hazm
  • Macedonia midfielder Ferhan Hasani plays for Al-Raed

African players:

  • Ghana’s midfielder Mohammed Fatau plays for Al Qadisiyah FC
  • Burundi midfielder Cedric Amissi plays for Al-Taawon
  • Tunisian forward Ahmed Akaichi plays for Al-Ettifaq
  • Algerian attacking midfielder Ibrahim Chenihi plays for Al-Fateh
  • Moroccan left winger Nordin Amrabat plays for Al-Nassr FC
  • Egyptian left back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi plays for Al-Ahli Jeddah
  • Cape Verde left winger Garry Rodrigues plays for Ittihad Jeddah
  • Cameroonian forward Leandre Tawamba plays for Al-Taawon
  • Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Sekou Sanogo plays for Al-Ittihad Jeddah
  • Nigerian fowrad Ahmed Musa plays for Al-Nassr FC
  • Gambian forward Bubacarr Trawally plays for Al-Shabab Riyadh
  • DR Congo forward Kabongo Kasongo plays for Al-Wahda Mekka
  • Eritrea forward Ahmed Abdu Jaber plays for Al-Wahda Mekka
  • Guinea forward Ismael Bangoura plays for Al-Batin

Asian players:

  • Syrian forward Omar Al-Soma plays for Al-Ahli Jeddah
  • Jordanian goalkeeper Amer Shafi plays for Al-Feiha FC
  • Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi plays for Al-Hilal Riyadh
  • Kuwaiti midfielder Fahed Al-Ansari plays for Al-Faisaly.

Australian Players:

  • Australian center back Milos Degenek plays for Al-Hilal
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