Neymar completes his £78m move to Al-Hilal as the Saudi football revolution continues… with Brazilian star set to earn a whopping £260m as he becomes latest big name to leave PSG this summer
Neymar has been pictured in an Al-Hilal kit for the first time as he seals his £78million switch from Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazilian was seen speaking to the Saudi club’s fans in a video on their social media pages where he is heard saying: ‘I am here in Saudi Arabia’.
Neymar has left PSG after agreeing a two-year deal with the PIF-backed club, one that is understood to be worth £130million a year.
He becomes the latest superstar to make the switch the Kingdom, following the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane to the globe’s biggest emerging football division.
He rejected the possibility of a loan move to his former club Barcelona, which would have included an option to buy him outright next year.
Neymar has been unveiled as an Al-Hilal player after sealing his £78m move from PSG
‘I am here in Saudi Arabia, i am HILALI,’ Neymar says in the video, which begins with a blue lightning bolt, the colours of Al-Hilal, racing through the streets to the confusion of passers by. The video on the club’s Arabic Twitter account had been viewed 32 million times in 39 minutes.
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Neymar was contracted to the French champions until 2027 but has decided to try new things at the age of 31.
‘It is inevitably difficult to say goodbye to a legend of the club, which Neymar will be forever,’ PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said.
‘I will never forget the day he arrived at Paris Saint-Germain, nor what he brought to our club and our project over the past six years.
‘We have lived extraordinary moments and Neymar will always be part of our history.
‘I would like to thank him and his family. We wish Neymar the best for the future and his next adventure.’
Al-Hilal also made a world record offer of £259m for PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, who rejected the move despite his poor relations with the French club.
The Saudi side have spent big this summer on the likes of Ruben Neves from Wolves, Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio and Malcom from Zenit St Petersburg.
Al-Hilal were defeated 2-1 by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr in the final of the Arab Club Champions Cup on Saturday, having finished third in the league last season.
Neymar, who joined PSG from Barcelona in a world record £198m deal in 2017, was left out of Luis Enrique’s squad for the Ligue 1 opener against Lorient on Saturday, which finished goalless.
He scored 18 times for his club last season before undergoing surgery on his right ankle in March, which ruled him out the remainder of the season.
Overall, Neymar has scored 118 times in 173 matches for PSG.
He has won five Ligue 1 titles and three Coupe de France trophies, but has not added to the one Champions League he won in Spain.
Neymar became the most expensive transfer ever when he joined the Ligue 1 giants in 2017
Al-Hilal failed in their effort to lure Kylian Mbappe (right) from PSG as Neymar made the switch
The superstar becomes the latest high-profile player to make the switch to the kingdom
Saudi’s youthful population has a hunger for social media that sets it aside from most others – and so it was no surprise Al-Hilal made the big splash on Twitter on Tuesday.
One industry expert based here explained to Mail Sport this week when asked about preparing to welcome Neymar to the Kingdom: ‘They are up against the clock but they will leave no stone unturned.
‘There is already a lot of talent here, but they will also fly in the best if they need to and if they can get it done in time.
‘The people in charge, be that the Public Investment Fund or Al Hilal, will get whatever they need.
His unveiling will only be the start. Already, they will be rushing to print shirts with Neymar’s name on the back.
Neymar will earn £130m a year and may even be unveiled in front of a packed-out stadium
There will be a rush to print Neymar shirts, with the aim of the league to become sustainable
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