Following in the footsteps of Liverpool teammate Jordan Henderson, Brazil midfielder Fabinho left the club to move to the emerging Saudi Pro League. He joined Al-Ittihad on Monday, the team where Karim Benzema and N`Golo Kanté now play.

Fabinho moved for a reported 40 million pounds ($51.5 million) to end his five-year stay at Liverpool, which he joined from Monaco.

His exit comes a week after Jordan Henderson left Liverpool after 12 years to join another Saudi team, Al-Ettifaq. Roberto Firmino also moved to the oil-rich kingdom after his contract expired at Liverpool.

The Saudi league hopes to raise the profile of soccer in the country by signing some of the world`s top players. Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al-Nassr in December post which many footballers followed.

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The 29-year-old Fabinho made 219 appearances for Liverpool and helped the club win the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League a year later.

Fabinho was not always a regular for Liverpool last season after a loss of form.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has overhauled his midfield by signing Argentina`s Alexis Mac Allister and Hungary captain Dominik Szoboszlai, and the club is now searching for a holding midfielder to replace Fabinho.

“It`s been five years wearing this jersey and always with the greatest honor and happiness possible,” Fabinho wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“Since day one at Liverpool, I`ve been embraced by everyone. What I saw inside this club, the relationship between the people there, made me feel like family. In these five years, I grew as a player, as a man, I made dreams come true.”

Al-Ittihad said Fabinho has signed a three-year deal.

(With AP inputs)

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