– Alioski raved about the Saudis, and now they don’t want him anymore
“In football you have to expect everything,” Ezcan Alioski recently said, and he is now a surplus player at Saudi club Al-Ahli. And you don’t know what will happen next.
The message is short, only one sentence long. But she says. It shows how footballers are treated in Saudi Arabia – at least those whose names are not Ronaldo, Benzema or Neymar. The question for Ezcan Alioski’s advisors is what happens next for him since he was recently made redundant. The answer: We don’t know anymore.
Alioski was talking about his time in Saudi Arabia, and it was mid-August. The Swiss-Macedonian moved to Al-Ahly in 2021, long before the gold rush began. When the 31-year-old returned from loan at Fenerbahce Istanbul this summer, his new team-mates were Firmino and Mendy, and they were soon joined by other stars such as Mahrez. For Alioski, who started his career at YB ten years ago, his stay in Saudi Arabia suddenly became lucrative not only financially, but also sportingly.
If there was not one rule: the number of foreigners in Saudi teams is limited to eight. In fact the rule still applies despite the obscene spending spree. When Alioski was asked if he was worried about his whereabouts, he said: “In football you have to expect everything. But I am convinced that I will stay.”
Real Madrid star Toni Kroos comments on the transfer of young star Jabri Vega to Al-Ahly: “Embarrassing.”
At this stage, Alioski’s advisers had already asked the club president whether their client could be affected. The club president replied: He has no say when it comes to transfers. The $700 billion Public Investment Fund is in charge. In addition to Al-Ahly, the sovereign wealth fund acquired three other clubs in the Saudi Professional League this summer. Its representatives are the ones who decide which clubs will sign the players. A person like Al-Youski is just a small number compared to major Saudi intellectuals.
Unlike Gabriel Vega. The 21-year-old Spaniard moved to Al-Ahly for 40 million euros at the end of last August. His signing was new as he was the first young star to move to the Arabian Peninsula. Real Madrid professional Toni Kroos commented briefly on the change, describing it as “embarrassing.”
When Al-Ahly played a home match three days later – without Vega – and Alioski was substituted shortly before the end, the crowd applauded and he slapped one of his teammates on the back of the head. Everyone suspected that this might have been Alioski’s last appearance with Al-Ahly.
Last weekend it was surplus. He doesn’t know what will happen next. He’s in the dark. Compensation comes in the form of a salary worth millions. At least you can count on it.
Dominique Willemin He writes for Tamedia on sports topics – with a focus on football and YB. Before entering journalism, he studied journalism and communication at ZHAW. More information