Brazilian footballer Neymar Jr. joins the list of star footballers who have joined clubs in Saudi Arabia for record-breaking deals. It has been revealed that the Latin American striker has agreed to a two-year deal to join the Saudi club Al-Hilal, which competes in the Saudi Pro League. Neymar, who previously played for the French league champions Paris Saint Germain (PSG), spent six rollercoaster seasons at the club.
French daily L’Equipe reported that Neymar agreed to a deal that would see him earn a whopping $160 million. It has also been reported that PSG has agreed to sell the forward to the Saudi club. The surprise transfer comes six years after PSG broke transfer records by shelling out 222 million euros to Barcelona to buy Neymar.
However, Neymar’s stint at PSG had turned out to be disappointing for the club as he was beset with frequent injuries, and PSG failed to earn any silverware apart from the Ligue 1, the top-tier domestic football league in France. This year, Neymar had been out of action since March after going through reconstructive ankle ligament surgery. His absence in many of PSG's matches may have most possibly led the club to consider selling the player.
While the transfer has been confirmed, with Neymar set to undergo his medical today, the exact figures of the deal remain contested. Most news agencies have reported that PSG is set to receive 90 million euros from Al-Hilal for the Brazilian footballer. This deal joins the list of deals Saudi clubs have offered to and also finalized with reputed European clubs to acquire star footballers.
At Al-Hilal, Neymar will join the likes of Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Kalidou Koulibaly, who were all acquired by the club in this summer’s transfer window. Al-Hilal is part of the four clubs that are currently owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF). The other three clubs are Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli, and Al-Ittihad.
The Neymar acquisition comes weeks after repeated, relentless efforts by Al-Hilal to buy his PSG teammates Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe. While Messi accepted an offer to join the Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami, Mbappe has chosen to stay at PSG.