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Saudi players move to Spain ahead of World Cup

Stars to play in La Liga to gather experience ahead of greatest football show on Earth

Image Credit: AFP / Getty Images
Fahad Al Muwallad (2nd R) of Saudi Arabia celebrates.

Madrid: Saudi Arabia are gearing up for their first World Cup finals appearance since 2006 by sending players on loan to Spain to gain experience.

At least six players have joined Spanish clubs following an agreement between Spain’s La Liga and the Saudi federation.

Villarreal, Leganes and Levante from the top flight, alongside second division outfits Gijon, Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano, each simultaneously announced on Sunday they had signed a Saudi player.

Villarreal have taken winger Salem Al Dawsari, attacking midfielder Yahia Al Shehri has gone to Leganes while Levante have signed forward Fahad Al Muwallad.

The loans come less than five months before the World Cup in Russia begins.

Saudi Arabia are in a group alongside the hosts, Uruguay and Egypt.

For the Spanish clubs, the loans are a way to gain exposure in a little-tapped market.

“With Yahia Al Shehri’s arrival, the club has improved its squad and also gained visibility in the Arab world,” Leganes said in a statement.