West News Wire: Neymar, a prominent player in Brazilian football, has completed his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to Al Hilal of the Saudi Pro League, concluding a turbulent six-year tenure at the French club.
Al Hilal and PSG reportedly reached a transfer fee agreement on Monday for 90 million euros ($98 million). In its spending frenzy on elite football talent, the league, supported by the oil-rich state, would set a record with the sum.
Approximately half of Cristiano Ronaldo, 38,’s rumoured yearly salary, Neymar has been given a two-year contract that is estimated to pay the 31-year-old Brazilian star an annual salary of roughly $100m.
In a video uploaded to Al Hilal’s website, Neymar remarked, “I am here in Saudi Arabia, I am Hilali.”
“It is always difficult to say goodbye to an amazing player like Neymar, one of the best players in the world,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said in a statement.
“I will always remember his first day at Paris Saint-Germain and all that he has done for our team and our project over the past six years. We had a fantastic moment, and Neymar will always play a significant role in our history,” he continued.
A few weeks before Kylian Mbappe was signed by PSG, Neymar left Barcelona and joined them for a then-record 222 million euros ($242 million). In six seasons marred by injuries, he scored 118 goals in 173 games.
He won five Ligue 1 titles and three French Cups, but was on the losing side as PSG were beaten by Bayern Munich in the 2020 Champions League final.
His time at the club has frequently been blighted by injury and he is no longer considered a key player in coach Luis Enrique’s squad, with the likes of 22-year-old Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos changing the profile of the team.
The most successful club in Asia al jand Saudi Arabia is Al Hilal, which has won 66 trophies including the most league and Asian Champions League titles (18 and four, respectively).
After the Saudi Public Investment Fund announced in June an investment and privatisation programme for sports clubs involving league champions Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr, and Al Hilal, strengthening the team is a priority for the Riyadh-based club.