Spanish Football League (LFP) director Fernando Sanz believes that Levante have signed the "Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi of Saudi Arabia" after acquiring Fahad Al-Muwallad on loan until the end of the season.
The 23-year-old winger joined this week from Al-Ittihad and is one of nine Saudi players that will play on loan in Spain ahead of this summer's World Cup as part of an agreement reached between La Liga and Arabia's General Sports Authority (GSA) and the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF).
Sanz, LFP director in charge of the Middle East and North Africa, denied reports that the Spanish clubs will receive up to €3 million for signing a Saudi player on loan and told Cadena Ser radio: "It's a loan with a buyout option but there's no financial compensation.
"I haven't been following the players but what I can tell you is that, for example, the player [Al-Muwallad] signed by Levante is a star. He is the Cristiano [Ronaldo] or [Lionel] Messi of Saudi Arabia."
A Saudi Arabia international since 2012, Al- Muwallad has scored nine goals in 40 caps for his country. La Liga sides Leganes and Villarreal have signed Saudi Arabia international Yahya Al-Shehri and Salmam Al Dawsari, respectively.
"With the arrival of Al-Shehri, the club strengthens its team with a player that will also help earn visibility [for the club and La Liga] in the Arab world," a Leganes statement said.
Sanz believes it's a good deal for everyone involved and said: "For the clubs it's an opportunity to pen a market, to enter a marker that is good and succulent," but the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) have not welcomed the deal.
"This agreement prevents the development of footballers from the youth sectors and represents an obstacle for the youth players," said a statement. "This new business model prioritizes the financial aspect above the sporting one, sacrificing the essence of this sport."
Saudi Arabia will play in Group A at the World Cup this summer with hosts Russia, Uruguay and Egypt in Group A.