The Prince Mohammad bin Fahd Stadium forms the backdrop for the highly anticipated clash between last season’s winners Al-Nassr and Al-Ettifaq on Monday night.
After months of courting Europe’s big stars and signing them at eye-watering prices and wages, the Saudi Pro League is back in action with a bigger eye than ever, signaling the arrival of a season brimming with excitement, anticipation and goals.
It all started with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese global superstar moved to Al-Nassr in January, starting what appears to be a trend. Many high-profile players have since followed in his footsteps, leaving Europe’s top leagues for the sunnier and richer climes of the Saudi Pro League, which already has a fanatical and vibrant fan base.
Anyway, Al-Nassr come into this game fresh from lifting the Arab Champions Cup, beating Al-Hilal 2-1 in a dramatic final at the weekend, despite playing over 60 minutes with 10 men. And the man dominating the football headlines is once again Ronaldo.
Two goals from the Portuguese veteran turned the game upside down. And despite being forced off the pitch due to injury before the end, the 38-year-old was able to join his teammates in the joyous post-match celebrations.
The visitors will now turn their attention to the home circuit where they will look to start the new Pro League season on a positive note against Al-Ettifaq, who were not one of the clubs PIF ruled in June. But that didn’t stop them from making headlines.
The Dammam side recently appointed former Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard as their new head coach. They finished seventh in the league last season under Gerrard’s predecessor Antonio Cazorla in the 16-man Saudi top flight, which has now expanded to 18 teams for the new season.
In a campaign that was largely inconsistent, the Commandos finished 35 points adrift of top spot and nine clear of the relegation zone. They will look to improve under Gerrard as several big names have been established ahead of the new season.
Al Ittifaq vs Al-Nassr: TV Channel and Live Streaming
Australia: 10 play
Bangladesh: SONY TEN 2 HD, SONY TEN 2, Sony LIV
Belgium: DAZN Belgium
Brazil: BandSports, GOAT Channel, NOW NET and Claro
Germany: DAZN, Sport1 Extra, sportdigital
Ghana: StarTimes App, Startimes Sports Life
India: SONY TEN 2 HD, Sony LIV, JioTV, SONY TEN 2
International: DAZN, Shahid
Kenya: StarTimes App, Startimes Sports Life, Azam Sports HD
Nigeria: StarTimes App, Startimes Sports Life
Portugal: Sport TV Multiscreen, Sport TV3
Saudi Arabia: SSC
South Africa: Startimes Sports Life, StarTimes App
Switzerland: Sport1 Extra, sportdigital
USA: Fubo , FOX Sports, FOX Sports App, Fox Sports 2, Foxsports.com