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Neymar Jr. Signs to Saudi Arabia Club

posted on: Aug 23, 2023

Neymar Jr. Signs to Saudi Arabia Club
Neymar Jr. signing his contract to join new team with Al-Hilal / Photo credits: Al Hilal Instagram page.

By: Rina Acevedo / Arab America Contributing Writer

Starting New

Something is in the air for professional soccer players in Europe; they are moving to the Saudi Arabia Soccer League. Professional soccer players are signing with many of the Saudi Arabia clubs during 2023’s transfer window. From household names like Cristiano Ronaldo signing with Al Nassr FC in late December 2022, to Karim Benzema signing with Al Ittihad soccer club in June. Now, joining those big names to sign with a Saudi Pro League club, is famous Brazilian soccer star and previous Paris Saint-German forward striker, Neymar Jr.

Making a Way for Saudi Arabia Clubs

Cristiano Ronaldo created a pathway for professional soccer players and household names to even consider accepting a contract with major Saudi Pro League clubs. After Ronaldo agreed to end his contract with Manchester United and signed with Al Nassr FC in late 2022, making his debut in January 2023. His lucrative deal was for a two-and-a-half-year contract that is said to be worth more than $200 million through commercial agreements. Many European players began looking at a possible career over to Saudi Pro League clubs.

Neymar, who has played with PSG since 2017, became the latest star to leave Europe for a deal in Saudi Arabia. Joining Al Hilal Saudi club with a contract reported to be close to $300 million. Neymar has recently praised Ronaldo for breaking boundaries for players to be able to play in the Saudi Pro League, despite fans calling Ronaldo, “crazy” and commenting that his career was soon over for making this move.

ESPN reported back in June, that Al Hilal club attempted to sign PSG soccer players Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe but failed. However, it may have been a good move for the soccer star, Lionel Messi, to turn down the opportunity from Al Hilal since he has had huge success after signing with Inter Miami in MLS. Winning their first trophy on Saturday night for the first time since the club was initiated. While Messi parted ways with PSG, Mbappe remained loyal to the French club. Agreeing to renew his contract by signing a $300 million contract. However, Neymar took the lucrative Saudi League deal, despite his former PSG mates did not.

Neymar Jr. Signs to Saudi Arabia Club

Former PSG mates, from left to right: Mbappe, Messi, Neymar / Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

What it Took to Get Here

Neymar had his debut for the Brazil National team at the age of 18. He also played for the Santos FC team until he traveled to Europe to play with Barcelona from 2013- 2017, becoming a two-time La Liga Champion and going on to sign with Paris Saint-Germain club in 2017, after PSG bought Neymar’s contract for a record $250 million from Barcelona.

Neymar Jr. Signs to Saudi Arabia Club

Neymar, with PSG president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, joining PSG in 2017 / Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Neymar’s Contract

Al Hilal has crossed their t’s and dotted theirs i’s when it comes to securing their contract with Neymar. It is said that Al Hilal has paid PSG for Neymar’s transfer of approximately $102 million. After six years, Neymar is looking towards the Arab Nation to continue his dream of becoming the best player in the league. The most exciting thing about heading to the lucrative Arab Nation, apart from the money, is the many privileges that he will now have with his new team.  His starting contract is for two years and it is said to be close to $300 million. However, he will also enjoy many comfortable amenities, including a bonus check of approximately $87,000 for each match he plays and Al Hilal wins. Addition to these amenities, he will also have access to luxurious vehicles, a private jet, a mansion with 25 rooms, and staff members at his service around the clock. Not too shabby.

Settling In

After a warm farewell from PSG, surrounded by his previous coaches and teammates, closing one chapter and entering a new phase in his career, the Saudi league welcomed Neymar with this video on the newly renamed X platform.

You can catch the video here:

At the end of the video, Neymar states, “I am here in Saudi Arabia, I am HILALI”. Saudi club Al Hilal gave the player a beautiful welcome ceremony on Saturday, August 19, 2023, at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh along with 60,000 Al Hilal fans. He began settling in with his new surroundings on Sunday, August 20, 2023, where he met the rest of the team and began training. You could catch his smiling face on Al Hilal’s Instagram page with the caption, “Always happy.” As to what the future brings, no one really knows. There are high expectations set for Neymar. He is set to debut in September and bring his talents and skills to help his new team improve.

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