The top 10 Best Football Clubs in Saudi Arabia, 2023

Top 10 Best Football Clubs in Saudi Arabia, 2023

Saudi Arabia, known for its rich cultural heritage and growing economic influence, has made significant strides in football. The domestic league, known as the Saudi Pro League, is home to some of the Middle East's most talented players and clubs. More recently, an influx of high-profile European players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema has made their way to Saudi Arabia. Let's delve into the top 10 best football clubs in Saudi Arabia in 2023, highlighting their achievements and impact on the sport.

1. Al-Hilal FC

  • Founded: 1957
  • Founding History: Originally established as the Olympic Club, the club changed its name to Al-Hilal in 1958. Over the decades, it has become a symbol of success in Saudi football, cultivating a winning culture.
  • Trophies: 61 (Domestic level: 18 Saudi Pro League titles, 13 Crown Prince Cup titles, 10 King's Cup, 3 Saudi Super Cup, 1 Saudi Founder's Cup)
  • Best Player: Nawaf Al Abed
  • Achievements: As the most decorated club in Saudi Arabia, Al-Hilal has an impressive array of domestic and continental titles, making them the standard-bearer of Saudi football.

Former European talents Ruben Neves and Kalidou Koulibaly made their way to the club in the summer of 2023 to help preserve its primacy. Brazilian sensation Neymar also signed with the club in August 2023, earning an annual salary of $164.5 million for two seasons

2. Al-Nassr FC

  • Founded: 1955
  • Founding History: The Saudi brothers Husein and Zeid Al-Jaba founded Al-Nassr. Starting as a small club, Al-Nassr quickly rose to prominence, achieving national and continental glory.
  • Trophies: 27 (Domestic level: 9 Saudi Pro titles, 6 King's Cups, 3 Crown Prince Cups, 2 Saudi Super Cups)
  • Best Player: Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, Majed Abdullah
  • Achievements: Known for their attacking brilliance, Al-Nassr has consistently been a powerhouse in Saudi football, winning numerous championships.

Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo recently won his first title at Al-Nassr with a brace in the Arab Club Champions Cup final. Liverpool legend Sadio Mane also signed for the club in the summer of 2023. 

3. Al-Ittihad FC

  • Founded: 1927
  • Founding History: Established in Jeddah, Al-Ittihad is one of the oldest clubs in Saudi Arabia. Its early formation played a vital role in fostering local talent and contributing to the region's football growth.
  • Trophies: 47 (Domestic level: 8 Saudi Professional League titles, 9 King's Cups, 3 Crown Prince Cups, 1 Saudi Super Cup)
  • Best Player: Karim Benzema, Mohammed Noor
  • Achievements: Al-Ittihad's rich legacy has been defined by legendary players and a cabinet filled with trophies, reflecting their standing in Saudi football history.

Legendary Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema inked a deal with the club in the summer of 2023. The Ballon d'Or winner looks to rejuvenate the team alongside fellow countryman N'golo Kante and former Red Fabinho.

4. Al-Ahli Saudi FC

  • Founded: 1937
  • Founding History: Founded in Jeddah as a local sports club, Al-Ahli rapidly grew into one of Saudi Arabia's most recognized football teams. Its commitment to youth development and skillful play has been instrumental in its success.
  • Trophies: 27 (Domestic level: 3 Saudi Professional League titles, 13 King's Cups, 6 Crown Prince Cups, 2 Saudi Super Cups)
  • Best Player: Omar Al Somah
  • Achievements: Focusing on youth and skillful play, Al-Ahli has maintained a strong presence in Saudi football, winning domestic and regional titles.

Al-Ahli Saudi FC splashed the cash in the summer of 2023, brining over European playmakers Riyad Mahrez, Bobby Firmino, and former Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin.

5. Al-Faisaly FC

  • Founded: 1954
  • Founding History: Named after King Faisal, Al-Faisaly FC's formation marked a turning point in the growth of organized football in the region. The club's disciplined approach has seen it thrive in the Saudi football scene.
  • Trophies: 12 (Domestic level: 4 Saudi Professional League titles, 4 King's Cups, 3 Crown Prince Cups)
  • Best Player: Saad Al-Harthi
  • Achievements: Al-Faisaly's disciplined approach has brought them success in domestic and regional competitions, cementing their reputation as a top club.

6. Al-Shabab FC

  • Founded: 1947
  • Founding History: Al-Shabab formed as a youth club in Riyadh, focusing on developing young talent. This approach has made the club a vital part of Saudi football history, nurturing numerous legendary players.
  • Trophies: 13 (Domestic level: 6 Saudi Professional League titles, 3 King's Cups, 2 Crown Prince Cups, 2 Saudi Super Cups)
  • Best Player: Nasser Al-Shamrani
  • Achievements: Entertaining and consistent, Al-Shabab's attacking style has earned them numerous accolades and a place among the Saudi elite.

7. Al-Taawoun FC

  • Founded: 2007
  • Founding History: A relatively young club, Al-Taawoun, originated to promote football in the Buraidah region. Its progressive approach and on-field success have made it a standout team in recent years.
  • Trophies: 3 (Domestic level: 1 Saudi Professional League title, 1 King's Cup, 1 Saudi Super Cup)
  • Best Player: Leandre Tawamba
  • Achievements: Exciting football and a progressive approach to the game have marked Al-Taawoun's rapid rise.

8. Al-Ettifaq FC

  • Founded: 1945
  • Founding History: Al-Ettifaq originated in Dammam and was vital in establishing organized football in the Eastern Province. Its blend of experience and innovation continues to shape Saudi football.
  • Trophies: 11 (Domestic level: 2 Saudi Professional League titles, 2 King's Cups, 4 Crown Prince Cups)
  • Best Player: Ibrahim Al-Hazazi, Jordan Henderson
  • Achievements: Al-Ettifaq's blend of experience and youth has been crucial to their success, making them a mainstay in Saudi football.

Champions League winner Jordan Henderson joined the club in the summer of 2023, partnering with boss and fellow Reds legend Steven Gerrard.  

9. Al-Raed FC

  • Founded: 1954
  • Founding History: Founded in Buraidah, Al-Raed's early years were marked by resilience and growth. Its commitment to the sport has had a lasting impact on Saudi football, helping shape its identity.
  • Trophies: 2
  • Best Player: Sultan Al-Sawadi
  • Achievements: Al-Raed is a resilient and dedicated team that has made a substantial impact on Saudi football. As a result, they have gained respect from teams across the league.

10. Al-Fateh SC

  • Founded: 1958
  • Founding History: Al-Fateh's establishment in Al-Hasa marked a significant step in expanding football in the region. Its focus on nurturing local talent has led to a reputation for innovation and success.
  • Trophies: 4 (Domestic level: 1 Saudi Professional League title, 1 King's Cup)
  • Best Player: Muhannad Assiri
  • Achievements: Known for nurturing talent, Al-Fateh's innovative approach to football has led to domestic success and a strong reputation.

Photo: Instagram/alnassr, ittihadclub

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