Aussie Aziz Behich joins Cristiano Ronaldo’s club, Al Nassr, on loan

Julian Miller
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Julian Miller
01/02/2024
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Aziz Behich joins Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia

The 33-year-old left back has played every minute of Australia’s 2023 Asian Cup campaign in Qatar so far. 

News Insights

  • Behich leaves Melbourne City to join Saudi side Al Nassr.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mane, and Marcelo Brozovic also play for Al Nassr.
  • Al Nassr are second in the Saudi Pro League table.
  • Behich will officially join Al Nassr after the Asian Cup.

Australia starting left back Aziz Behich is on his way to the Saudi Pro League. The 33-year-old and his current club, Melbourne City, have agreed to a loan move to Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr. Behich’s new teammates include world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane.

Behich joins Cristiano Ronaldo and Al Nassr

Aziz Behich has played every minute of Australia’s Asian Cup campaign in Qatar, and has apparently impressed people in Saudi Arabia. The Socceroos announced on Wednesday that he will be joining Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane in Saudi Arabia on loan with Al Nassr. 

According to Behich, the move came about very quickly. “To be honest, it happened fast,” the 33-year-old explained on Wednesday to the press in Doha. “Just got a call yesterday and then escalated from there. The interest went to offers to City and then for me, it was just an opportunity that I couldn’t pass on.” 

It’s just all happened so soon. So last night was pretty exciting, letting the family know and I didn’t know when it would get released, but [Al-Nassr] wanted it out as soon as possible.”

Behich is leaving A-League side Melbourne City to join Al-Nassr. City have had a poor season this year and are reportedly looking at a massive rebuild this offseason. Shedding older players like Behich could be key to that rebuild. 

However, Behich’s move is just a short-term loan until the end of this season. There is no reported buy-option in the deal, but as we all know, if a Saudi Arabian club wants to buy a player, they probably will.  

In addition to Cristiano Ronaldo and Sadio Mane, Behich will also get the chance to play alongside former Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte and former Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozović. 

Behich will join Al Nassr after Australia’s 2023 Asian Cup run comes to an end. The club is currently second in the Saudi Pro League. The first league game Behich could theoretically be available for is on February 18 against Slaven Bilić’s Al Fateh.

Other Aussies on the move

Behich is not the only Aussie who could be making a high profile move this transfer window.

Socceroos goalie Joe Gauci is reportedly on his way to Aston Villa in the Premier League. The 23-year-old  Adelaide United player would likely serve as a deputy behind Villa’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Like Behich, Gauci would not officially join the Villains until after the 2023 Asian Cup. 

Gauci would be the second Australian keeper to join a Premier League side this window after his Adelaide United teammate Steven Hall joined Brighton for an undisclosed fee last week. 

Legendary Melbourne City striker Jamie Maclaren could also be on the move, but there are some doubts about whether he would really go before the end of the season. Maclaren’s current City contract expires at the end of the 2023/24 A-League season. 

He has been linked to numerous Saudi Arabian, Qatari, and Japanese clubs in recent months as his contract talks with Melbourne City have stalled. Maclaren has been unwilling to talk about specific other clubs interested in him, simply saying that whatever move he makes next will be the best one for his family.

Given the A-League’s recent financial worries, don’t be surprised if you see more players “jumping ship” to other top leagues. The July-August transfer window will be one of the most important ones in league history because of this.