Saudi Arabia's national football team players take part in a training session in Saint Petersburg on June 12, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. / AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACE
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Nine Saudi players loaned to Spanish clubs to improve their level before the World Cup left without hardly playing in what ended up as a "fiasco".A scenario was played out at six other Spanish clubs which took on one or two Saudi players during the winter transfer window under and agreement between La Liga and the Saudi Sports Authority.The initiative was not popular in either country since the Saudi players -- including several who are part of the Saudi team which will face Russia in the World Cup opening match on Thursday -- hardly got any time on the pitch.Saudi winger Salem Al-Dawsari, who was on loan at Villarreal in Spain's top-flight, and striker Fahad Al-Muwallad who went to Levante, only played for a few minutes at the end of the season when their teams' fate was already decided.
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