Neymar has moved to Al Hilal after showing a close friendship with Lee Kang-in during the preseason.
Al Hilal announced the signing of Neymar through the club’s official channel on June 16 (KST). The deal is for two years and Neymar will wear the number 10 shirt in Saudi Arabia.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) underwent a coaching change this summer. Christophe Galtier, who led the team until last season, left and Enrique took over. He won the 2014-15 treble with Barcelona, reaching the top of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) in the process, which is what PSG is looking for.
Neymar was also playing at the time. Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in Brazil in 2013 and quickly became a regular starter, playing alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and playing a key role in the 2014-15 treble under Enrique. Neymar scored a whopping 10 goals in 12 UCL games.안전놀이터
After two more seasons at Barcelona, Neymar was ready for a new challenge. He moved to PSG and became the world’s most expensive player. At the time, PSG paid a whopping €220 million ($321.7 billion) for Neymar. Neymar’s signing was part of PSG’s project to win the UCL, and Kylian Mbappe followed a short time later for similar reasons.
It paid off. In 2019-20, with Neymar, Mbappe, and others performing well, PSG reached the UCL final for the first time in club history. They lost the title to Bayern Munich, but it was a significant achievement. Neymar has since re-signed with PSG until the summer of 2025, signaling his commitment to the club’s goals.
Neymar scored 13 goals and provided 11 assists in 20 Ligue 1 appearances last season. He was averaging more than one attacking point per game and was performing well, but he suffered an injury in late February that ruled him out for the season.
Then came the problem. Messi’s unauthorized visit to Saudi Arabia at the end of the season caused PSG fans to criticize Neymar. In the past, whenever PSG has underperformed in the UCL, Neymar has been heavily criticized by fans. This time was no different. Fans showed up at Neymar’s doorstep and yelled at him to leave.
Photo: Sports Illustrated
It was claimed that Neymar had lost patience with the behavior of PSG fans. In fact, it was rumored that he was considering leaving this summer. Neymar has been linked with a move to Manchester United, Chelsea, and other clubs, but the player himself said, “I hope to play for PSG next season. I have a contract with PSG. Even if there is no love between the PSG fans and the players, I will stay,” he said.
Since then, he has been preparing for the new season with coach Enrique. Despite not being able to play in any pre-season games due to the injury he suffered at the end of last season, he was seen enjoying training with the players. In particular, his chemistry with Lee Kang-in stood out. The two exchanged jerseys after the round of 16 match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At the time, they had only played head-to-head, but their relationship has grown rapidly since joining PSG.
Lee and Neymar were next to each other in a group photo taken in front of the plane before their tour of Japan, and were seen getting off the plane together. They were also seen frolicking on the training field and on the bench in friendlies. In an open training session ahead of a match against Jeonbuk Hyundai, fans chanted Lee’s name and Neymar walked over to say hello, grabbed his hand and shook it instead.
After missing all three games in Japan due to injury, Neymar started against Jeonbuk and played the full game, scoring multiple goals. His first goal, a sensational individual effort, was a reminder of why Neymar is a world-class player. Until the game against Jeonbuk, Neymar looked like he had been in PSG’s plans all season.
Amidst all this, transfer rumors have surfaced. “Neymar told PSG last weekend that he wants to leave the club this summer,” according to French publication L’Equipe. Neymar’s father gave an interview in which he denied this, and it looked like he would stay, but then things started to change.
“Neymar has made it clear that he wants to leave the club this summer. He has three years left on his contract,” said Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol. Neymar wants to return to Barcelona, but it’s not realistic due to financial issues.”
He went on to give his views on PSG’s club policy. “Now PSG wants to end the ‘galactico’ culture that started with Neymar, Mbappe, etc. The club’s future plans will not be centered around those players. Rather, players like Dembele and Gonzalo Higuain will be the mainstays. PSG wants players who are committed to the team. Neymar is PSG’s past. He is not the future.”
Neymar’s current contract runs through the summer of 2025. It includes an option for a one-year extension, so he could play for PSG for up to three more years, but it’s looking more and more likely that he’ll end his association this summer. He was rumored to have reached a personal agreement with Barcelona, but financial issues prevented a move, and a new destination emerged.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal. Al-Hilal is the same team that tried to sign Lionel Messi this summer. They tried to lure Messi with an astronomical salary, but he chose the United States over Saudi Arabia. He now plays for Inter Miami in the American Major League Soccer (MLS).
Photo by Al Hilal
Photo: Al Hilal
Al-Hilal didn’t stop there, bringing in a number of big-name players from Europe, including Ousmane Nebes, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, and Malcom. Recently, they even tried to sign Neymar’s teammate Mbappe, but Mbappe didn’t want to move to Saudi Arabia. However, when Neymar’s future became unclear, they immediately began negotiations.
The deal came to fruition quickly. Transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano announced on social media on March 13 that “the deal between Al-Hilal and Neymar is close to completion. The final documents will be ready. Al Hilal hopes to finalize the deal in the next 24 hours.”
Photo by Al Hilal
A day later, Romano added: “Neymar is moving to Al-Hilal. He will fly to Saudi Arabia this week. It’s a two-year deal and he will wear the number 10 shirt. PSG will receive a transfer fee of less than 100 million euros. The medical tests will be completed today,” he said, adding “HERE WE GO,” a phrase used when a transfer is imminent.
Also, ‘Foot Mercato’ reported on Thursday, “Neymar’s transfer to Al-Hilal is finalized. According to our sources, he will head to Saudi Arabia. Last weekend, Al Hilal were trying to reach an agreement with Neymar and PSG, and for now, everything is over.”
“PSG and Al Hilal have reached an agreement and the transfer fee will be just under €100 million,” the outlet continued. Neymar will undergo a medical in the next few hours and will join the team later this week. Neymar’s contract will be for two years and he will receive an annual salary of €100 million.”
Photo by Al Hilal
Photo by Al Hilal
Finally, it was official. Neymar played the full match against Jeonbuk, so he shouldn’t be in bad shape. Al Hilal will host Al Fayha in the second round of the league on the 20th. They have back-to-back games on the 25th and 29th. He could make his debut as early as August.
PSG has lost both Lionel Messi and Neymar, leaving Mbappe in the fold. Mbappe had been linked with a move this summer after he refused to extend his contract. PSG excluded him from their pre-season tour and didn’t include him in first-team training in an attempt to pressure him, but he refused to sign an extension.
However, he recently returned to training after a dramatic reconciliation with PSG. This has led to the possibility of a new contract. For now, with Mbappe confirmed to play this season, PSG will likely build their attack around Mbappe, along with summer signings Gonzalo Hamus, Ousmane Dembele, Marco Asensio, and Lee Kang-In.