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Former Manchester City star says living in Saudi Arabia is tough

Published: Updated: 04:09, 21 Jan 2024
Aymeric Laporte was part of City’s historic treble-winning squad last season

In 2023, several football players made significant financial leaps to the Middle East. One of these was Al Nassr centre-back Aymeric Laporte, who made a £23.6m switch from Manchester City. However, as January rolled around, there has been a surge of speculation about the future of these new signings.

Jordan Henderson has already terminated his contract with Al Ettifaq to join Ajax. Roberto Firmino is also considering a return to Europe while Karim Benzema is heavily linked with an exit from Al Ittihad.

Laporte reveals players are unhappy with lifestyle in Saudi Arabia

In an interview, Laporte confessed that he knows several stars who are unhappy with life in Saudi Arabia and issued a warning to league officials that they must implement changes quickly before more players start contemplating leaving.

Al Nassr centre-back, Aymeric Laporte, said:

"It's a big change compared to Europe, but in the end, it's all adaptation,". "They haven't made it easy for us.

"In fact, there are many players who are dissatisfied, but hey, we are working on it every day, negotiating, and seeing if it improves a little because this is something new for [Saudi Arabia] too, having European players who have already had long careers. Maybe they are not used to this and have to adapt to a little more seriousness."

When asked about this lack of seriousness among officials and players alike, Laporte stated: "In every sense, but also in daily life. Life for them; they take everything lightly. The ultimatum you can give them doesn't matter to them."

Laporte insists he won't leave despite low quality of life

Laporte acknowledged the common argument that high wages offered in the Middle East can soften any discontentment among players but argued against it by stating how drastically his quality of life has dropped since leaving Premier League club Manchester City.

He insisted that although he isn't currently thinking about making a quick exit from Saudi Arabia himself, he may be forced into reconsidering if nothing changes soon.

Aymeric Laporte, added:

"I speak from my own experience and I don't know what others' experiences have been like. For my part, what I have seen is that they try to bring you in, but then there is day-to-day life and that is different.

"[Al Nassr] take care of us, but not enough for my taste. In Europe, they pay you a good salary too, but they also take better care of you."

"Let's see, At the moment, I haven't thought about it, but if I'm feeling disappointed after such a short time, you wonder what you need to do. That moment has not yet arrived, but in the future it could if this dynamic continues."

This situation raises questions about whether other football stars will follow suit and consider returning back home or moving elsewhere where their quality of life might be better despite potentially lower wages. It also puts pressure on officials and Saudi Pro League clubs to improve conditions for their foreign signings if they wish to retain their services.

While the big-money jumps to the Middle East might seem attractive at first glance, it's clear that there are other factors at play that can significantly impact a player's happiness and satisfaction. As Laporte's case shows, high wages aren't always enough to compensate for a drop in quality of life. It remains to be seen how this situation will evolve and what steps Saudi Arabian football officials will take in response.

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