Saudi Arabia will host a four-team football series in October, with heavyweights Brazil and Argentina set for matches in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Turki Al-Sheikh, the president of Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, confirmed the friendlies and suggested that Egypt could also be involved.
Brazil will face Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on October before taking on arch-rivals Argentina in Jeddah four days later.
“We have just signed a four-star international tournament in early October with the participation of Brazil, Argentina and the Saudi Arabian team in addition to a fourth team that will be announced soon,” Al-Sheikh said.
“As president of the Arab Football Federation, I hope that Egypt will be the fourth team.”
The marquee matches will form a key part of Saudi Arabia’s preparation for the 2019 Asian Cup, taking place in the UAE in January. The Saudi national team faces Qatar, Lebanon and North Korea in the group stage of the tournament.
“The most important part is that this gives the team the best kind of test for the Asian Cup,” a Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) official told Arab News.
“We saw at the World Cup that we need as much quality international experience as possible and there can be nothing better than playing Brazil in front of what should be a sell-out crowd in Riyadh.”
The SAFF official claimed that hosting Brazil and Argentina’s stars in the Kingdom is a major coup, adding: “Having Brazil at home gives all players in the league real incentive to try and get into the team and play against some of the best players in the world, such as Neymar.
“And it is also a great chance for the fans to see the same stars in the flesh.”
KSA courtesy of GSA boss Turki Al Sheikh has just signed a 4-team international tournament in early October involving Brazil 🇧🇷 , Argentina 🇦🇷, Saudi 🇸🇦 and a fourth team yet TBD.
The tournament will also include the Super Classico match between Argentina and Brazil. pic.twitter.com/W2CYEziXev
— Saudi Pro League Insider (@SPLinsider_EN) September 7, 2018
Abdel Ezzat, who resigned as SAFF’s president in August in order to prepare for a run at the presidency of the Asian Football Confederation next year, added: “The country is going through an important change. Football can be a catalyst for change. My country can play an important role in football.
“Football is about growth and if you don’t grow economically, socially, technically, you will not be moving. It’s not enough for us to be in the World Cup.”
Saudi Arabia last played against Brazil in a friendly in 2002, which the South Americans won 1-0.