Neymar’s transfer to the Middle East is complete…
The 31-year-old Brazilian soccer star has officially completed a move from French champions Paris Saint-Germain to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, the clubs confirmed Tuesday.
As previously reported, Brazil’s joint all-time top scorer was close to accepting personal terms with Al Hilal after the clubs agreed a transfer fee of €90 million ($98.6m).
“I have achieved a lot in Europe and enjoyed special times, but I have always wanted to be a global player and test myself with new challenges and opportunities in new places,” Neymar said.
“I want to write new sporting history, and the Saudi Pro League has tremendous energy and quality players at the moment. I have heard a lot and learned that I am following a long list of Brazilian players who have played in Saudi Arabia over the years, so I believe it is the desired place.
“Al Hilal is a giant club with fantastic fans, and it is the best in Asia. This gives me a feeling that it is the right decision for me at the right time with the right club. I love winning and scoring goals, and I plan to continue doing that in Saudi Arabia and with Al Hilal.”
Neymar will link up with new teammates Kalidou Koulibaly, Rúben Neves and Sergej Milinković-Savić, who all made the move to Al Hilal earlier this summer.
Al Hilal are one of four clubs — along with Al Nassr, Al Ahli and Al Ittihad who were taken under the ownership of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund in June as part of the country’s “Sports Clubs Investment and Privatization Project.”
Neymar has reportedly been offered a two-year contract expected to pay an annual salary of around $100 million. That would be around half of the reported salary Cristiano Ronaldo is being paid by Al Nassr.
“Neymar Jr is a global icon who has brought joy and pleasure to all fans wherever he plays,” Al Hilal chairman Fahad bin Saad bin Nafel said in a statement. “The spotlight is always on him and he always responds to it. We are delighted to have him join Al-Hilal, the most successful club in all of Asia.”
Neymar joined PSG in 2017 when the club — owned by Qatar Sports Investments — paid a still-world-record transfer fee of €222m to pry him away from Barcelona.
He scored 118 goals in 173 appearances for the Paris club and won numerous trophies, including five Ligue 1 titles, but was increasingly a target of fans’ frustrations as the club failed to win the UEFA Champions League.
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to an amazing player like Neymar, one of the best players in the world, said PSG president and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
“I will never forget the day he arrived at Paris Saint-Germain, and what he has contributed to our Club and our project over the last 6 years. We had a great moment and Neymar will always be a big part of our history. I would like to thank Neymar and his family. We wish Neymar all the very best for the future and his next adventure.”