Manchester City midfielder Rodri has been critical of the Saudi Pro League lately. The money the Saudis are spending to entice players from Europe was the target of Rodri. Rodri demanded that UEFA take action rather than address specific players who choose to play in the Saudi Pro League.

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Cristiano Ronaldo, who was to turn 38, became the first well-known figure to relocate to Saudi Arabia when he signed with Al Nassr at the end of December 2022. The legendary player from Portugal was followed by N'Golo Kante, and Karim Benzema, who joined Al Ittihad in June after seasons marred by injuries. Another player who made the contentious change in the latter stages of his career was 33-year-old Jordan Henderson.

However, others have also kept up with the finances. While players under the age of 30 have also made the move, they include Fabinho, Ruben Neves, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Allen Saint-Maximin, Seko Fofana, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Malcom, Otavio, and 21-year-old Spain talent Gabri Veiga. At 31, many would have considered Neymar and Sadio Mane still capable of performing for an elite European club.

Rodri, who is currently with the Spanish squad on national duty, stated, "The players who decided to go out to these leagues...totally understandable. Obviously, because of the amount of money they are offering I would take it to be a personal issue.

"We Europeans, so to speak, don't like it that much. I imagine that we will have to somehow control this escape of talented players because it is true that, at first, it seemed that they were only veteran players at the end of their careers. But we are seeing that they are not, there are already players of my age or even young people who are choosing to go there."

The 27-year-old was a key member of Pep Guardiola's Treble-winning team in 2022–2023 and had a highly successful season with City. He played in 56 games across all competitions and provided the winning goal in their victory over Inter Milan in the UEFA Champions League final.