Roma have completed the sale of Roger Ibanez to Al-Ahli in the Saudi Pro League after his three-and-a-half years with the club.
Ibanez joined Roma from Atalanta in January 2020, although he only had one Serie A appearance to his name at the time. Getting his breakthrough at his new club during the delayed end to the 2019-20 season, he went on to become a regular feature in Roma’s back-three system.
The Brazilian defender kept his status under the reigns of both Paulo Fonseca and Jose Mourinho, winning the 2022 Europa Conference League as a starter in the final with the latter.
Ibanez was also a starter in the Europa League final the following year, earning praise for his courage at taking a penalty in the shootout, even though he missed.
It was a gruelling match in which he gave his all and came out battered and bruised, but will be a fitting parting memory to acknowledge his commitment to the cause.
That said, there were various flaws in Ibanez’s game, which sometimes became apparent in critical matches such as derbies. When Roma needed to raise funds this summer, he became an obvious candidate to be sold.
Instead of leaving by the end of June as expected, Ibanez has sealed his departure in August after Al-Ahli made a bid believed to be worth around €28.5m plus add-ons that could take the fee beyond €30m.
Ibanez leaves Roma with 149 appearances for the club behind him. He scored nine goals in that time, including a memorable volley against Ajax in the 2020-21 Europa League quarter-final.
During his time in Rome, Ibanez also earned his first two caps at international level for Brazil. But now, he is heading for a new challenge in the Middle East.
Several high-profile players have been moving to Saudi Arabia in recent months and Ibanez is the first to move there directly from Roma since the Public Investment Fund took control of some of its major clubs.
Roma have already prepared for his departure by signing Evan Ndicka on a free transfer earlier this summer; here is how the two players compare.
Ibanez features fourth on Giallorossi Yorkshire’s ranking of every signing Gianluca Petrachi made at Roma.