“It’s Difficult for Manchester City To Play Against Burnley” – Former West Ham Boss Uses Premier League Reference To Call Out Quality Gap in the Saudi Pro League

Published 02/04/2024, 2:47 AM EST

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via Reuters

The Saudi Pro League is determined and on course to take over the global landscape of soccer. Major investments and the arrival of big names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are a testament to that fact. But what would it take for them to reach a level like the English Premier League and maybe a club like Manchester City? A former West Ham United coach has highlighted an idea for the Middle Eastern competition to avoid becoming a ‘disaster‘.

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The Premier League is no walk in the park, and who better to explain it than Slaven Bilic? In a recent interview, he gave his opinion on how SPL can aspire to become like the EPL. “What they shouldn’t do, it would be a mistake to make two leagues from one league,” he said. While acknowledging that the Big 6, aren’t the only reason that makes the English league better, Bilic added, “It’s the best league in the world also because it’s difficult for Man City to play against Burnley, to play against West Ham. That makes the league.” 

Having spent 6 years coaching teams like West Bromwich Albion and Watford apart from West Ham, the Croatian tactician knows what makes the EPL different from other leagues. Bilic believes that every team must try to stay competitive. He cited the example of Al Hilal beating Al Hazm 0-9 dating back to November and insisted that things could go worse if it stayed that way. “The most important thing is not to let these four, five, or six clubs that you [Saudi Pro League] have [dominate financially], it would be a disaster,” he concluded. 

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While it remains to be seen if the stakeholders will heed Bilic’s advice, it seems he is confident of the Saudi league’s aura to become the best, just like a former Manchester City executive who couldn’t say no to the SPL. 

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Manchester City’s Esteve Calzada could not ‘refuse’ the Saudi Pro League project!

Former Manchester City’s Chief Commercial Officer, Esteve Calzada recently became Al Hilal’s CEO. When asked to reveal his thought process for joining the Riyadh side, he said, “Al Hilal contacted me at the end of August and explained the project to me; I liked it more and more,” while acknowledging that the Sky Blues had been dominating both financial and sporting aspects.

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Although Calzada described leaving the Cityzens as very hard and was even ready to stay put in Manchester for longer, Al Hilal easily changed his mind. “When they explained to me the dimension that Saudi soccer was taking and the specific project of Al Hilal… I could not refuse,” he concluded. It seems that a few Saudi League clubs have already embarked on the road to compete alongside the quality of the English Premier League.

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Written by:

Abhishek Mishra

1,680Articles

One take at a time

I first kicked a soccer ball when I was 12. My early exposure to playing the sport earned me many accolades at the zonal and district levels. I still remember my first goal, where I scored a 90+5 minute header like Sergio Ramos did in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
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Edited by:

Daniel D'Cruz

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