Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Man City star Rodri blasted for being ‘hypocritical’ over Saudi Pro League cash grab comments

Riyad Mahrez, Rodri and Julian Alvarez of Man City

Former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor claims it is “hypocritical” for Manchester City midfielder Rodri to demand FIFA and UEFA stop players leaving Europe for the Saudi Pro League.

Rodri was quoted by the Manchester Evening News when calling for the two governing bodies to control the “drain of talent” heading to the Middle East.

He also stated that players leaving for Saudi Arabia is “totally understandable due to the amounts of money they offer”.

City lost both Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte to the riches on offer in Saudi over the summer, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Neymar and Gabri Veiga all playing their trade in the league.

But Agbonlahor insists that top foreign players have left their homelands for big money in the Premier League for years, in a clear response to Rodri‘s comments.

Indeed, he told Football Insider: “Why should UEFA or FIFA get involved with players going to Saudi Arabia?

“Should they also get involved when players leave for the Premier League for the money?

“How many players have left Spain, for example, to come to England before they even turn professional?

“When I was in the youth sides, so many players came from abroad to play in this country.

“I feel that we’re hypocrites if we try and slam Saudi Arabia when the Premier League is the same.

“Players come here because the money is better than in France, Italy, Germany or Spain.

“Saudi Arabia are doing the same to England now, and it’s being seen as a problem. It’s up to the player.

“If the player’s character at 19 wants to go, then it’s his choice.

“I don’t know how anyone can stop it. It doesn’t make any sense.”

City are back in action on Saturday when they head to Wolves in the Premier League, although they will be without Rodri after he was banned for three games after his red card against Nottingham Forest last weekend.

Rodri’s absence could finally give Kalvin Phillips a chance to stake his claim for a regular spot in the Premier League XI after he was handed a rare start in the Carabao Cup loss at Newcastle on Wednesday evening.

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