The recent online spat between former England defenders Jamie Carragher and Rio Ferdinand has been making waves on social media.
The summer transfer window has witnessed several high-profile players leaving European clubs for lucrative contracts in Saudi Arabia. Players like Ruben Neves, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Bernardo Silva have either moved or been linked to moves to the Saudi Pro League.
The two football pundits have been engaged in a bitter Twitter war, with Carragher taking aim at Ferdinand for supporting the influx of money into English football from Saudi Arabia.
One of the latest names to make the switch was Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool captain who has taken over as the manager of Al Ettifaq. Ferdinand used this opportunity to question Carragher’s silence on the matter.
On his FIVE YouTube channel, Rio Ferdinand addressed Carragher, saying, “Jamie, Jamie Carragher, where are you, man? I heard a lot of talk, a lot of negativity about Saudi… Your boy’s gone over there, I’ve not heard a peep out of you… I want to hear him [Carragher] say ‘I can’t believe Stevie’s gone there’.” Ferdinand also expressed his support for players moving to Saudi Arabia, emphasizing that other countries and leagues have done the same in the past.
Jamie Carragher didn’t hesitate to fire back at his fellow pundit, clarifying his stance. He stated, “Never criticized Silva, Benzema, Neves, or SG, I don’t like Saudi trying to buy football like they have Golf… I knew you’d be all over it, Rio Ferdinand, like you were in Qatar!” Carragher further referred to Ferdinand’s support of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, mentioning his absence as a pundit during the opening game of the 2022 World Cup due to concerns over human rights issues.
Carragher’s concerns about the Saudi influence in football stem from what he perceives as sports washing. He believes that Saudi Arabia is using its financial might to dominate various sports, including golf, boxing, and now football.
He expressed worry about talented players in their prime being lured away from Europe, as seen in the case of Bernardo Silva. Carragher tweeted, “This sports washing needs to be stopped!” when news of Silva’s potential move to the Saudi Pro League emerged.
The feud continued as Carragher rejected Ferdinand’s explanation and suggested Qatar’s involvement in a Manchester United takeover, comparing it to Ferdinand’s Qatar experience. Ferdinand accused Carragher of disrespecting Saudi Arabia but remained silent when Gerrard joined a Saudi team.