Founded in 1963, the Stars League (QSL) has evolved significantly, especially after the 2022 FIFA in Qatar cast a global spotlight on it. This premier football competition has become a breeding ground for homegrown and international talent, and 2023 is proving to be a year like no other. Most recently, Italy's Marco Verratti left PSG and snubbed the Saudi Pro League for Qatar's Al Arabi. Here are the top five Qatar Stars League clubs currently setting the pace and redefining the boundaries of the sport in the Gulf nation.

SC

Al-Sadd continues to set the bar high in Qatari football. Once guided by the legendary Hernandez, they blend tactical acumen with technical finesse, making them formidable challengers. From 2019 to 2021, Al-Sadd won six cups and a league title with Xavi as their manager. Former Arsenal midfielder made 55 appearances with the club over three seasons.

Founded: 1969

Founding History: Established to nurture football talent in Qatar, Al-Sadd has grown into a giant of Qatari and Asian football.

Trophies: 56 (Domestic level: 16 QSL titles, 18 Emir of Qatar Cup titles, 8 Sheikh Jassem Cup titles; Continental: 2 AFC Champions League titles)

Best Player: Baghdad Bounedjah, Xavi, Santi Carzola

Achievements: Al-Sadd is the most decorated club in Qatari football history, pinnacled with the player turned manager Xavi.

Al-Duhail SC

Al-Duhail SC has made significant strides in recent years and is the primary challenger to Al-Sadd's supremacy. With a strong focus on youth development and state-of-the-art training facilities, they are the epitome of ambition. They are the most recent winners, securing their eighth Qatar Stars League title during the 22/23 season. 

Founded: 2009

Founding History: Originally known as Lekhwiya SC, the club merged with El Jaish SC in 2017 to form Al-Duhail SC, a force to challenge Al-Sadd's dominance.

Trophies: 16 (Domestic level: 8 QSL titles, 3 Emir of Qatar Cup titles, 2 Sheikh Jassem Cup titles)

Best Player: Edmilson Junior, Philippe Coutinho (on loan from Aston Villa)

Achievements: Despite being a relatively young club, Al-Duhail has captured multiple domestic titles and is quickly earning a reputation as a powerhouse in Qatar and Asia. 

Al-Rayyan SC

Historically significant and passionately followed, Al-Rayyan has rejuvenated its squad since the 2022 World Cup. A mix of seasoned veterans and emerging talent characterize their current lineup.

Founded: 1967

Founding History: Al-Rayyan initially formed as a sports club to foster athletic talent across various disciplines, primarily focusing on football.

Trophies: 36 (Domestic level: 8 QNB Stars League titles, 7 Emir of Qatar Cup titles, 4 Sheikh Jassem Cup titles)

Best Player: Abdulaziz Hatem

Achievements:

Al-Rayyan is one of the most celebrated clubs in Qatar, with a rich history and a passionate following. Their commitment to integrating youth and experience has kept them competitive across decades.

Al Arabi SC

Founded in 1952, Al Arabi is one of the oldest clubs in the country. Last 22/23 season, Al Arabi finished second in the Qatar Stars League behind champions Al Duhail.

Founded: 1952

Founding History: Al Arabi, one of the oldest clubs in Qatar, has a rich heritage and a deep-rooted history in Qatari football.

Trophies: 28 (Domestic level: 7 QSL titles, 8 Emir of Qatar Cup titles, 3 Sheikh Jassem Cup titles)

Best Player: Muaither Al Yamahi, Marco Verratti

Achievements: Al Arabi is one of Qatar's prominent teams. Known for its passionate fan base and storied history, the team has balanced traditional values with modern football tactics.