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“It’s still clear to me” – Ruben Dias offers honest truth on Saudi Arabia’s threat to European football popularity and competitiveness



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Manchester City’s Ruben Dias is of the firm belief that European football remains above Saudi Arabia in terms of competitiveness, despite recent transfer activity.

The summer transfer window saw the most disruptive activity from Saudi Arabia since a number of clubs were taken over by the country’s sovereign wealth fund, meaning the cash at the disposal for development of clubs rose above many European clubs.

From the viewpoint of Manchester City, the Premier League champions were subject to widespread interest from the middle-east, and even had two of their first-team stars opt in favour of proposals from the Saudi Pro League.

Aymeric Laporte decided to pursue a fresh challenge in Saudi Arabia by joining Cristiano Ronaldo and co. at Al Nassr, while Algerian international captain Riyad Mahrez finalised a switch to Al Ahli.

While other moves have featured the likes of Neymar, Sadio Mane and Karim Benzema, Manchester City’s Ruben Dias remains convinced that European competition, attractiveness to football fans, and standards set by the continent remain unmatched.

As quoted by Record in Portugal, translated and relayed by Sport Witness, Ruben Dias believes that despite the flurry of ambitious transfer activity and big name football stars moving to the middle-east European football remains the place to be for the most competitive action.

“It’s still clear to me that the most competitive football in the world is still in Europe, but there has obviously been an increase in quality in Arabia, simply because of the players who have gone there,” Dias explained.

He continued, “To be honest, I don’t follow the football, I’ve only seen one or two games, I don’t have enough knowledge. But for me, the most competitive football in the world today is still in Europe.”

Dias has started the ongoing season in fine fashion with his Manchester City teammates, winning all four of their opening Premier League fixtures and sitting top of the division as club football broke for an international break.

Upon City’s return, the club will commence their defence of their first ever European crown, as they embark on a UEFA Champions League group stage phase that features RB Leipzig, Red Star Belgrade, and Swiss outfit BSC Young Boys.

A Carabao Cup third round tie against Newcastle United at St James’ Park also features in a hectic return to action following the conclusion of the international break, with the first match back being a trip to face David Moyes’ impressive West Ham squad at the London Stadium.