Brazilian winger Neymar has joined Saudi Pro League club Al Hilal from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a two-year contract that reports say could earn him 160 million euros ($174 million). With the move, the 31-year-old forward ends a six-year stay in the French capital and follows in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane in swapping Europe for the Middle East.
The soccer star on August 19 received a rapturous welcome from a multitude of devoted fans at Al-Hilal, marking his entry into the ranks of high-profile footballers who have joined the Saudi Pro League. A spectacle of flame-throwers and an impressive burst of fireworks illuminated the sky over the grand King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. A drone exhibition added to the visual spectacle, forming the words “Neymar is blue.”
Neymar was previously the world’s most expensive footballer following his transfer to PSG in 2017. He joined Qatar-owned PSG from Barcelona six years ago for a world-record fee of 222 million euros ($242 million), scoring 118 goals in 173 matches despite a series of injuries.
The Brazilian will earn 100 million euros a season in Saudi Arabia, say reports. In addition to the astounding amount, he has reportedly secured a handful of other perks, including an incredible £2.5 million-a-week contract in the Al Hilal deal.