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Roberto Firmino ‘set to leave’ Saudi Pro League just 6 months after Liverpool exit

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Roberto Firmino has been tipped to leave Al-Ahli and the Saudi Pro League just six months after his move from Liverpool, with a return to Europe mooted.

Firmino was one of many high-profile players to head to Saudi Arabia over the summer, but predictably, things have not gone exactly to plan.

With laughable attendance figures often under the 1,000 mark and a lack of attention from outside of the Middle East, the lucrative contracts are not matching up to the standard of football.

That is without speculating on the lives of those players and their families in a country with major human rights issues.

Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick on his Al Ahli debut (STR/AP).

For Firmino, his time at Al-Ahli began with a flourish, scoring a hat-trick on his debut and captaining the side in his first 10 league games.

But it has quickly gone sour, with the Brazilian on a 17-game goal drought since that opening treble and having not started in the Saudi Pro League since the end of October.

Unsurprisingly, that has led to claims he is prepared to depart not only the club, but Saudi Arabia entirely.

French outlet Football365 has followed a report in the Mirror, stating that Firmino is set to move on and would “seek to return to Europe, or even return to his native Brazil.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 28, 2023: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino waves to the travelling supporters after playing his final game for the club during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium. The game ended in a 4-4 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Neither source is airtight, but it would certainly make sense that Firmino is pushing to leave Al-Ahli, after losing his place in the side to Saudi striker Firas Al-Buraikan.

Al-Ahli’s other major signings Riyad Mahrez, Gabri Veiga, Franck Kessie and Allan Saint-Maximin are all still regular starters for the third-placed club.

A move across to Al Ettifaq has been mooted for Firmino, which would reunite him with both Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum under Steven Gerrard, who has talked up his interest in the 32-year-old.

FIRMINO EXCLUSIVE: ‘I knew I would leave Liverpool – I just had to tell Klopp’

“I obviously know Bobby extremely well. I’ve been a massive fan, I’ve followed him for years,” he was quoted by the Mirror.

“At the moment, he’s Al-Ahli’s player, so it’s very difficult for me to comment on that situation.

“But I’ve loved Bobby Firmino since the first day I watched him and I’m a huge fan.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 28, 2023: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (R) celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Southampton FC and Liverpool FC at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rumours over Firmino seeking a return to Europe could even spark calls for him to rejoin Liverpool, though that would be considered unlikely.

The No. 9 received interest from the likes of Barcelona, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid and Galatasaray prior to his switch to Saudi Arabia, along with Brazilian club Internacional and MLS franchise St. Louis City SC.

Expect headlines of Firmino returning to Liverpool in the coming days, though – but only for a book signing!