Former Liverpool midfielder Fabinho’s laboured attempt at a tackle for new club Al Ittihad caused a stir on social media.
The midfielder joined the reigning Saudi Pro League champions this summer in a £40 million deal after five years at Anfield.
He was part of the side that helped Liverpool pick up their first Premier League title in 28 years and a sixth European Cup, beating Tottenham in the final in 2019.
But a midfield regeneration this summer saw Fabinho join former Reds captain Jordan Henderson in moving to Saudi Arabia.
Fabinho has featured in all six of Al Ittihad’s league fixtures so far this season, registering one assist, and continues to build a blossoming central-midfield partnership alongside former Chelsea ace N’Golo Kante.
However, during his latest appearance in the 1-0 win against Al Akhdoud, Fabinho was seen making a challenge in a way rarely attributed with the combative star.
The 29-year-old laboured towards opponent Leandre Tawamba to chase the ball in the middle.
Instead of snapping at the player to win the ball back as per his usual style, Fabinho was nutmegged after showing little will to regain possession.
It is a side of of his game Premier League fans are unaccustomed to after five years of tough-tackling displays for the Reds.
One fan wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Everyone is moving around like they are just chilling.”
A second wrote: “Everyone looks like they are walking.”
Another added: “It looks bad but you can’t imagine how hot it is. Hence the slow pace of the game. Similar to Mexico 86. Of course with the disclaimer that was a World Cup and the world’s best players. This is a lower level but it is HOT there.”
Whilst a fourth fan was a little less sympathetic writing: “I’d heard of walking football but I’d never seen it, until now.”
As one of the fans pointed out, the Saudi heat almost certainly played a part in his tired attempts.
The game, played at Al Akhdoud’s Prince Hathloul bin Abdul Aziz Sports City Stadium is located in the city of Najran with current temperatures reaching a high of 36 degrees Celsius.
Regardless, the team won and victory, thanks to Karim Benzema’s late winner, ensured Al Ittihad regained top spot but Neymar’s Al Hilal can leapfrog them with a victory over Al Riyadh on Friday.
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