Steven Gerrard Joins Al-Ettifaq: The Latest High-Profile Addition to Saudi Arabian Football
Steven Gerrard, the renowned former captain of the England national team and Liverpool Football Club, recently made a significant decision to accept a coaching position with the Saudi Arabian Pro league club, Al-Ettifaq. Gerrard had initially declined the offer, but he experienced a change of heart and signed a three-year contract with the team last week. By joining the Saudi league, Gerrard has joined the growing list of high-profile football figures attracted to the region.
In a recent statement to Al-Ettifaq's official Twitter account, Gerrard expressed that one of the key factors that influenced his decision was the strong sense of a "family feeling" he experienced within the club. He felt genuinely welcomed during his visit to Saudi Arabia, which played a pivotal role in his choice. Gerrard outlined three crucial aspects that guide his decision-making process. First and foremost, he prioritizes the well-being of his family, ensuring that any move aligns with their needs and interests. Additionally, he seeks excitement and motivation from the challenges presented by the opportunity. Secondly, Gerrard emphasized the importance of an ambitious football project driven by genuine motives, focusing on the right reasons for pursuing success. Finally, while considering the contract terms, he highlighted the significance of feeling secure, although he deemed this aspect as less critical than the previous factors mentioned.
Gerrard's move to Al-Ettifaq is part of a larger trend of notable signings in the Saudi league. It began with Al-Nassr's signing of global football icon Cristiano Ronaldo in December, and more recently, former Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema joined Al-Ittihad in June. In addition to these high-profile acquisitions, Gerrard's former teammate, Robbie Fowler, was appointed as a coach for the Saudi second division team Al-Qadsiah just a few days prior to Gerrard's announcement.
Gerrard's coaching expertise comes with significant accomplishments. Prior to joining Al-Ettifaq, he led Rangers Football Club to their first Scottish Premiership title in 10 years in 2021. However, his time at Rangers was followed by a short tenure at Aston Villa, which concluded with his dismissal in October.
Al-Ettifaq, the club that Gerrard will now guide, finished in seventh place in the top-tier Saudi Pro League during the previous season. With Gerrard's expertise and leadership, the club aims to elevate its performance and secure a stronger position in the league standings going forward.