Brazilian football superstar Neymar Jr has completed his move from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to Al Hilal of the Saudi Pro League, ending a spell at the French club after six years.
Al Hilal agreed to a reported 90 million euros ($98m) transfer fee with PSG on Monday. The amount would be a record for the league, backed by the oil-rich state, in its spending spree on high-end football talent.
Neymar has been offered a two-year contract that is expected to pay the 31-year-old Brazil star an annual salary of about $100m – around half that Cristiano Ronaldo receives.
In a statement sent by the league, Neymar said he wants to, “write new sporting history, and the Saudi Pro League has tremendous energy and quality players at the moment”.
“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 AlHilal.”
Al Hilal, the most successful club in Saudi Arabia and Asia, have won 66 trophies and hold the record for the highest number of league and Asian Champions League titles with 18 and four respectively
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Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world record fee of 222 million euros. He scored 118 goals in 173 matches in six injury-plagued seasons.
New boss Luis Enrique did not include him in his plans for this season and the French giants are undoubtedly relieved to get his hefty salary off their wage bill.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said, “It is always difficult to say goodbye to an amazing player like Neymar, one of the best players in the world.
“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 six years. We have had great moments and Neymar will always be a big part of our history.”
Neymar has joined the growing list of big names in the Saudi Pro League. The football fraternity eagerly awaits the unfolding of this new journey, which has the potential to reshape perceptions of football’s reach and impact across continents.