Saudi Arabia has taken the world of football by storm in recent years. While it began with the solitary move from Cristiano Ronaldo to Al-Nassr, several top players in Europe have opted to board the flight to Asia for the final chapter of their careers.
The Middle-Eastern-based league soon took over the transfer market and is now one of the biggest players.
An unhindered use of its financial muscle provides its teams leverage to table sky-high wages, and it is understandable why many veteran stars have opted to make the move to Saudi.
The trend continues to change. As the days pass, the age barrier is regressing in importance with younger players opting for the riches as well.
Earlier today, Fabrizio Romano announced that Celta Vigo star Gabri Veiga was closing in on a move to Saudi-based side Al-Ahli. Real Madrid star Toni Kroos replied to the Italian journalist’s post on Instagram, and called it ’embarrassing’.
Veiga not a stranger to Real Madrid
Earlier this summer, Los Blancos themselves had the Celta Vigo prodigy on their radar as a possible reinforcement for midfield.
He was, in fact, seen as the first choice alternative if the deal for Jude Bellingham fell apart.
The player was valued at €40 million by Celta Vigo and Real Madrid were willing to shell out €30 million for his services. However, it fell apart eventually after Los Blancos got hold of Bellingham.
Incidentally, the men in white are slated to take on Celta Vigo later this weekend at Municipal de Balaidos. The exit-bound Veiga has only played 17 minutes for the Galician giants this season and is not expected to play a part against Real Madrid.
Ancelotti praises new signings after Real Madrid 2-0 Las Palmas: “Contributed good things to the team”
Real Madrid locked horns with Las Palmas in their first game since the defeat to Atletico Madrid. The Merengues were dominant throughout the ninety minutes, and eventually took three points courtesy of goals from Joselu and Brahim Diaz.
The win takes Real Madrid to second spot in the table, one point above arch-rivals Barcelona. Moreover, it sets up a spicy clash between Los Blancos and league leaders Girona later this week.
Carlo Ancelotti faced the press after his team’s comprehensive win at Santiago Bernabeu. He began by commenting on the overall game against Las Palmas and how his men handled the proceedings, saying:
“I am worried about the end of the second half, that we have slowed down and we have not had good control of the game defending very low with little intensity. We try to start strong to avoid problems and recover a lot of balls.”
“In the first part there was only a lack of success and in the second intensity. It’s a time of the season when all the teams lower the intensity because the wear and tear is quite large,” he added.
He also spoke on the team’s style of play on the night and revealed that he did not fancy lengthy and dominating possession spells much.
“The long pass is an option to overcome lines and stay in front of the goalkeeper. It is an option that we must have. I’m not a fan of possession, but I am a fan of goals. There is always room for improvement.”
“Sometimes we have combined very well. There’s the coach’s job. The focus was on pressing hard and giving everything in the first 20 minutes. In this sense, the strikers have lacked freshness in the finish in the first half,” he added on the forwards.
Brahim Diaz and Joselu entered the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game and were the goalscorers on the night. The manager commended the Spanish duo for securing the three points.
“Brahim and Joselu have contributed good things to the team. In the first part, it could have been more successful, but we have created danger because of the quality that they both have.
“When a player who plays little goes out on the field and does it well, he makes us very happy because it means that he is working well and above all that he is motivated.”
He also added a special note on young Diaz who made his first start of the season for Real Madrid.
“Brahim can play in all the positions above. If he plays as a midfielder, he has to do a defensive job that doesn’t work in his characteristics. When he plays as one of the two strikers he moves very well and with the ball on his feet he has a lot of quality.”
“For a team that closes a lot, it has skill in small spaces and with its quality it can help us. It has an extraordinary quality in small spaces,” he added on the player’s dribbling prowess.
The manager then jumped to the topic of injuries and provided an update on when he expected the rest of the sidelined players to re-enter the dynamics.
He also added a note on David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger who appeared to suffer blows on the night.
“We have recovered Mendy and we are going to recover Carvajal for the next game. Rüdiger is touched, it’s a blow, but we think it’s going to be fine for the next game. The Alaba thing is a problem with the abductor and I don’t think he’ll be there on Saturday.”
“We have to see how Rüdiger and Nacho recover.Marvel and Carrillo, from the academy, who are very good, have also trained with us. I think Rüdiger is going to be fine,” he added on the vulnerable defence.
Ancelotti opted to rest both Jude Bellingham and Luka Modric against Las Palmas and justified his decision during his post-match press conference.
“They were tired, especially Bellingham, and I preferred to give them rest to avoid problems. The players understand very well that rotation is very important. I have tried to manage the squad and we have to do it in the best way in the next games.”
“It will pass until the next break because there is a very important wear and tear and many injuries in this period. At this time of the season it is difficult to have a 100% performance,” he added.
Real Madrid’s biggest positive on the night was the return of Vinicius Jr. The men in white have sorely missed the Brazilian’s presence in the final third, and the manager did not hold back on his happiness.
“He has entered with a lot of enthusiasm. I wanted to score and contribute to the team. Obviously, after a month he is missing something, but he is fully recovered and has to prepare well to be ready for Saturday when the game will begin.”
Rodrygo Goes has struggled to light the park with his magic this season despite being at the forefront of Real Madrid’s attack. Ancelotti gave his two cents on the Brazilian’s form, saying,
“For the forwards, these are moments that pass. When you don’t score, anxiety and worry come to you, that’s what’s happening to him and we have to continue to give him confidence. Today he didn’t score, but he gave a fantastic assist to Joselu for the second goal.”
“For me, he has contributed enough in the game, but for him, the goal is very important and they will arrive when he does not think about scoring goals. He has to work and with the quality that the goal has he will come,” he added, motivating the youngster.
The Italian gaffer also touched on the topic of Arda Guler’s latest setback that sees his tenure on the sidelines extended after coming ever so close to a return.
“It was bad luck. He finished yesterday’s training well and even scored the last goal of the match. Then he noticed something in his thigh and was diagnosed with a small injury,”
“The player is sad because he was fine. We still have to wait a little longer. It’s a small thing, but it hasn’t let him be available and give him minutes today. That was the idea,” he added on the Turkish phenom’s situation.
Finally, he reacted to the Atletico Madrid President, Gil Marin’s comments about Real Madrid and their ‘adulteration’ of the competition.
“I don’t listen to what the owner or president of Atlético de Madrid says. Everyone says or does what they want. I’m just saying that for me he’s made a big mistake. No one is perfect.”
Source: Real Madrid website