Sport is a highly popular industry worldwide, with millions of people tuning in to watch live competitive events every day. However, some sports enjoy more followers than others, with most struggling to attain the same level of popularity as football. The Middle East has witnessed great success in recent times in producing top athletes across a range of different sports. So, which sports personalities have gained popularity among bettors at online sports sites such as arabwinners.com in recent years? In this article, we will look into the most popular Middle Eastern sports personalities among bettors on online sports platforms.
There are few more famous Middle Eastern football stars than Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian has been recognized as one of the best players in the world throughout his spell at Liverpool and has been a key player in historic triumphs for the Reds throughout the Jurgen Klopp era.
Salah was a key player in Liverpool’s Champions League campaign in 2018 before he was a star when the club ended their 30-year wait for a Premier League title in the following season. The 30-year-old has also picked up no shortage of individual awards throughout his career, including the PFA Players’ Player of the Year on two occasions, and the Premier League Golden Boot on three occasions.
There has been no shortage of Middle Eastern NBA stars throughout history, but few are still dazzling as bright as Abdel Nader. The 29-year-old was drafted into the NBA back in 2016, as he was selected 58th overall by the Boston Celtics. During his career, he also played for the Oklahoma City Thunder and Phoenix Suns. Nader was named the NBA D-League Rookie of the Year in 2017, and he was also selected to the D-League All–Star team in the same season.
Throughout his career in the NBA, the Egyptian played 202 regular season games and averaged 4.6 points per game. His best season in the NBA came with the Celtics in 2018, as he played a key role in their deep run to the playoffs. However, he was never able to land that elusive NBA Championship during his stay in the United States.
There are potentially few more inspiring Middle Eastern sports stars in the world today than Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian tennis star broke the glass ceiling for players from the Arab world, as she became the first star from the region to win a WTA event. She also went a step further in 2022 by becoming the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final when reaching the crowning match at Wimbledon.
Jabeur achieved that goal once again before the end of the calendar year, but she was once again beaten in the US Open final. Throughout her career, she has picked up a number of huge accolades, including the Arab Woman of the Year Award in 2019. Meanwhile, she remains on course to land a Grand Slam title, as she became the first Arab and Tunisian player to claim success in a WTA 1000 event when landing success in Madrid last year.
One of the most successful Middle Eastern football players in history remains Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian superstar has played a key role for Leicester City, and then Manchester City since joining the English league in 2014. Mahrez signed for the Foxes while they were still in the Championship, but he played a key role in helping them earn promotion, before fighting off relegation in the following season.
His breakout campaign would come in the 2015-16 season, as he helped Leicester claim its first Premier League title. His personal performances also saw him named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Algerian Footballer of the Season. Following that prestigious season, he signed for Manchester City. Since signing for City, he has played a key role at the club to win the FA Cup, EFL Cup, and Premier League. At the international level, Mahrez also won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria.
There is little doubt that the future of Middle Eastern sports is looking incredibly bright at this time. There is no shortage of new stars that are forcing their way through the biggest sports, which will ensure that there is a clear pathway for aspiring athletes to follow over the coming years. It could be safe to say that the Middle Eastern nations will be dominating sports for the next 50 years.