Zlatan Ibrahimovic has taken aim at players who joined the Saudi Pro League last summer, questioning the motivations behind their moves to the Gulf state.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al Nassr last January was the catalyst for a number of the game’s biggest stars to join the league on huge contracts in recent months, including Neymar, Sadio Mané and N’Golo Kanté.
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Ibrahimovic revealed he had offers from Saudi Arabia and China at the end of his career — the Sweden great retired in June — but rejected the advances over considerations of legacy.
“I had an offer also from China. I had an offer also from Saudi, but the situation is, what do you want?” Ibrahimovic told Piers Morgan on the Uncensored show. “What objectives do you have?
“I said before we started, like certain players need to finish their career on the big stage because that is the high end of your career.
“You have to be remembered for your talent, not for what you earned. Because if you were remembered in the opposite way, what we are training every day for, what we are being recognised for, is our talent and that’s what you want to be remembered for.
“So I think certain players that reach a certain level, they have to stop at a certain stage, and that’s the big stage.”
Zlatan added that he understands why players who had enjoyed less financial success in their careers would embrace a transfer to the Saudi Pro League.
“Some players needed the situations where you can earn a lot of money because they didn’t earn enough.”
Teams in the Saudi Pro League spent nearly $1 billion on players in the summer transfer window — aided by the fact that four of the teams are now owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund, which also funds the breakaway LIV Golf series.