Spectacular Signing: Al Hilal SFC Signs Neymar for £77.6M
After suffering a heartbreaking loss to Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr at the Arab Club Champions Cup Final, Al Hilal SFC decided to level up the playing field by pursuing a superstar for their own. While many were sceptical about their interest in Neymar, Al Hilal SFC had total confidence in themselves to entice Neymar away from PSG. In just the span of three days, Al Hilal SFC bided, talked and completed all the procedures to sign the Brazillian sensation. Both parties will sign a two-year contract worth £77.6 million, along with potential add-ons, while PSG will receive £86.3 million for the sale. Furthermore, Neymar will earn £129.4 million a year during his time with the club, six times more than his time in the French Capital.
Neymar’s Transfer to Al Hilal SFC Sets Another Record
Before his transfer to Al Hilal SFC, Neymar already held the record for the most expensive transfer in football history, with a price tag of £190 million in 2017. Fast forward six years later, his transfer away from Barcelona to PSG still garners much attention and is a topic we may never comprehend. Why did Neymar leave? Was it money? Was it his ego? Was it the prospect of playing with Kylian Mbappé?
While we still try to wrack our brains behind the reasoning, we do know that with his imminent transfer to Al Hilal SFC, Neymar will be the first player in history to accumulate more than £300 million in transfer fees. Although his yearly salary may not eclipse Ronaldo’s £173 million, he is still the second highest-paid player in Saudi Arabia if we disregard the debate around Karim Benzema’s total yearly salary.
Why Did Neymar Choose Al Hilal SFC Over Barcelona?
Whenever the transfer window opens, there are always rumours and speculations regarding Neymar. While many still considered him one of the top 3 players at his peak, the primary reason clubs would go for him was the rift between him and the PSG fans. PSG fans are passionate and are unafraid to voice their opinions on players. For example, they claimed Messi was not giving it his all for the club and booed him and Neymar while cheering for Mbappé. Thus, many clubs thought they could lure Neymar away with a cheaper price. In the recent past, Chelsea and Real Madrid were always interested in signing him, but serious talks never materialise.
However, Neymar finally had enough and took the initiative to look for a move away. Barca was the first in line as President Laporta enticed the possibility of Neymar donning the Blaugrana jersey again. While collective yearning among the Barca members, players, and fans backed the return of Neymar, the moves eventually broke down as Neymar voiced his reservations about rejoining Barcelona as long as Xavi Hernández remained manager of the club. However, he did hint at a return to Barca in 2025, when his contract with Al Hilal SFC ends.
Al Hilal SFC Transfer Spree Continues
As Ronaldo predicted, the Saudi Pro League has attracted massive amounts of talent with their lucrative contracts. Al Hilal SFC is at the forefront of it, as the team has already completed the signings of high-profile players such as Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergej Milinković-Savić, Rúben Neves and Malcom before their talks with Neymar.
With such a depth of a squad, it is relatively unlikely that Al Hilal SFC will continue to sign more players. However, we can never be sure as the transfer window for the league lasts until the 20th of September. Maybe another loss in the Riyadh Derby (Capital Derby) against Al-Nassr will probe more signings. But fortunately for European clubs, the rematch will be in December, long past the transfer window.
The End of MSN and BBC in Europe
It was bound to happen. Although we had mentally prepared ourselves for the dreaded day, it still made us shed a tear about not seeing any of the six from MSN (Messi, Neymar, Suarez) and BBC (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo) in Europe this season. The fearsome tridents for Barcelona and Real Madrid terrorised every team in Europe and brought us immense pleasure from watching their artistic displays.
While we will hold off arguing about which trio was better, we will appreciate what both tridents did in their seasons together. For example, MSN scored 364 goals and 171 assists in 454 appearances for Barcelona while winning 7 trophies for the club, including 2 La Liga titles, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. On the other hand, the Real Madrid Trident scored 240 goals and 95 assists in 329 matches together while achieving a feat no club has ever done before, winning the UEFA Champions League three seasons in a row. It is a sad goodbye to the players we watched and grew with, but we can still appreciate them playing in their new leagues with AsiaSport.