Premier League • England

Former Liverpool striker destroys Ruben Neves for making Saudi switch: ‘They did it with LIV golf…’

Peter Crouch

Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch has ripped into Ruben Neves’ after he decided to join Saudi club Al Hilal this summer. 

The 26-year-old will finalise his move in the coming days, with Wolves set to receive approximately £47m for his services.

Neves certainly has the quality to be a top player on his day. So, it came as quite a surprise when he opted to ditch European football for mega-wages in Saudi.

He isn’t the first Premier League player to join a Saudi club. For instance, N’Golo Kante recently made the switch from Chelsea, signing for Al Ittihad, where Karim Benzema is, too.

However, Kante is six years older than Neves and is well past his prime. So, you can somewhat understand his decision.

It’s especially surprising that Neves made the switch just a month after voicing his ambition to play Champions League football.

“I want to be here but I never hide that I want to play Champions League football. It’s a hard decision. Me and my family love it here, but in football you have to go for your main goals.

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Crouch: ‘I don’t understand it’

Now, Crouch has criticised Neves’ decision to make the move to Saudi. He also makes an interesting comparison to the feud that has been going on in the golf world – between PGA and LIV.

“Player-wise, you can kind of understand it. I don’t understand the 25-year-old players in their prime (joining Saudi clubs),” Crouch told talkSPORT.

“You’re always going to be 10 years away from any league getting started, we’ve seen this before. The only thing with the Saudi situation is (that) these boys are serious. They did it with the LIV golf, they just didn’t go away.

“I think that will probably be the case with football (too). We can’t really ignore it because it looks like it’s happening, whether we like it or not.

“But for players, like Neves, 26 years old to go and play in Saudi… I get it with players like (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Karim) Benzema, players who have achieved everything.

“It’s one last payday in the sunshine and you can retire. They’ve achieved everything they want in the game.

“But these boys at 25 and 26, they have the opportunity to go and win things. It’s about memories and legacy. They’re still going to get paid well, aren’t they?”

Nevertheless, Neves is set to be playing in the Saudi Pro-League next season. Unless, of course, he gets loaned back to a Premier League club instantly, which there have been some worrying rumours about.

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