Neymar’s transfer from Al Hilal was a surprise.
Al Hilal officially announced Neymar’s transfer on the club’s official social media accounts on Saturday. Al Hilal posted a one-minute, 10-second video of Neymar’s official signing.
PSG also announced Neymar’s departure. “Beyond records, Neymar has thrilled fans at the Parc des Princes with his technical brilliance,” PSG said in a statement. Neymar has also made history with the Brazilian national team. With 77 goals in 124 appearances, he shared the top scoring honors with Pele.” PSG said goodbye to Neymar.
PSG President Nasser El-Khelaifi added: “It is always difficult to say goodbye to an outstanding player like Neymar, one of the best in the world. I will never forget the day he arrived at PSG and what he brought to our club and our project over the past six years. We have created great moments, and Neymar will be part of our history. I want to thank Neymar and his family and wish him all the best for his next adventure.”
PSG players also said goodbye to Neymar. Lee Kang-in, who joined PSG this summer and has grown close to Neymar, was one of them. Lee posted a photo of himself with Neymar on his social media accounts, writing, “It was a short time, but a very special time for me. I really appreciated it. I wish you all the best,” he wrote, expressing his regret that he didn’t get to spend more time with Neymar.
Neymar was once a superstar in the mold of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He grew up in Brazil with huge expectations from a young age. Touted as the next Pele, Neymar made his debut in 2009.
He made his debut for the prestigious Brazilian club Santos and immediately became one of the biggest stars in the league. Neymar’s genius for dribbling, passing, and setting up attacks with his fluid movements became known around the world.
The Brazilian league was small, so Neymar moved to Barcelona for the 2013-14 season. Once at Barcelona, Neymar quickly became a world-class player. Along with Messi and Luis Suarez, he completed the MSN line, which is considered the best attacking trio in soccer history.
The MSN trio took Europe by storm and gave Barcelona a treble. As Neymar flourished at Barcelona, he began to be recognized as a player capable of challenging the Ronaldo-Messi pantheon. His third-place Ballon d’Or finishes in 2015 and 2017, behind Messi and Ronaldo, were a testament to his quality.
But Neymar was no stranger to playing second fiddle. When Neymar realized he couldn’t surpass Messi at Barcelona, he made a world-shattering decision in 2017-18. Neymar decided to leave Barcelona and join oil money club PSG.
PSG paid Barcelona a transfer fee of €222 million to acquire Neymar. Neymar’s desire to lead PSG to the top of Europe and become the best player in the world combined with PSG’s ambition to shake up the global soccer landscape. It was the highest transfer fee in soccer history, a record that has yet to be broken.
A player’s desire met a club’s ambition, and it ended in failure. With the addition of Neymar and a host of other big names, PSG has become as dominant in the French Ligue 1 as Bayern Munich was in Germany. Since Neymar’s arrival, PSG has only lost the league title once.
The problem was in the UEFA Champions League (UCL). Aside from the 2019-20 season, which was shortened due to COVID-19, PSG has never reached the UCL final. Even in the final, they lost 0-1 to Bayern Munich, failing to win the title for the first time in their history.
It would be one thing if they were contending for the title every year, but PSG have been unusually weak in the UCL. Aside from a runner-up finish in 2019-20 and a quarterfinal appearance in 2020-21, they’ve finished in the round of 16 every year. For a club with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Lionel Messi, that’s an abysmal record.
Neymar, who was on the verge of breaking into the pantheon, was now reduced to a humanized version of himself. This is also when he moved to PSG. In 2018, he finished 12th in the Ballon d’Or, and in 2019, he was left off the final 30-man roster. In 2021, he finished 16th, but in 2022, he once again failed to make the final 30.
PSG also began to consider letting Neymar go after their bid failed. Even before the start of the 2022-23 season, PSG tried to sell Neymar, but no takers came forward.
Still, Neymar’s choice was to remain at PSG for now, and he said before returning to the club for pre-season: “I hope to stay at PSG. I have a contract with the club and no one has said anything to me so far. Even if I am not loved by the fans and players, I will stay at PSG,” showing his loyalty to the club.
Neymar’s loyalty was shaken shortly after returning from a pre-season tour of South Korea and Japan. He decided to leave after discussions with his father and agent. It was about a week ago that news broke that Neymar had requested a move to PSG.
“Neymar has informed PSG that he wants to leave this summer,” said multiple outlets, including Sky Sports in the UK. Neymar is not considered a key player in Luis Enrique’s plans as the club builds a new team,” according to multiple reports.
The speculation about Neymar’s future destination that accompanied the news of his transfer request to PSG came true. “If Neymar is forced to leave, his options are likely to be limited to the Saudi Arabian league or another Middle Eastern league,” said the Telegraph. He could follow Lionel Messi to the Major League Soccer (MLS) or head to the English Premier League (EPL).”
Among EPL clubs, Chelsea has been mentioned as a possible destination. When Todd Boeli bought Chelsea, he wanted to make a signing that would cement his purchase. In the 2021-22 season, PSG were in contact with Chelsea as they wanted to sell Neymar, but the deal never materialized.
The same was true this time around. Nasser Kinsella, who works as a dedicated Chelsea journalist for the UK’s Evening Standard, tweeted on Monday afternoon, “Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino does not want a reunion with Neymar. His move to Chelsea is financially unviable. There are also concerns about whether Neymar is the right player for the culture and style of football Pochettino wants to implement at Chelsea.”
For Neymar, it wasn’t an offer from a big European club that got him there, but the lure of Al Hilal. European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted on Wednesday: “Al Hilal made a significant offer for Neymar. Sources described it as a ‘huge bid’. Negotiations are ongoing to reach a full agreement and Neymar was tempted by the possibility. Work is underway to part ways with PSG.”
The sale process was swift, as PSG had been considering releasing Neymar. Once Neymar gave the green light to Al Hilal, PSG authorized the transfer. French journalist Fabrice Hawkins of RMC Sport, who is well versed in PSG insider information, also reported on Thursday that “Neymar has agreed to move to Al Hilal. The transfer fee is 90 million euros (about 13.15 billion won) plus bonuses. He has signed a two-year contract. After six years at PSG, Neymar’s career is over.”
After Neymar’s move to Al Hilal was officially announced, Romano said, “Neymar will receive a record salary of $300 million (about 406 million won) for two years. There is no contract extension clause. Neymar’s salary could potentially rise to $400 million by 2025, depending on bonus clauses and commercial deals. His father, Neymar Pi, and super-agent Finnie Zahavi negotiated the deal,” the report said.
If Romano’s report is true, Neymar will receive far more than the reported salary in the early stages of negotiations. The original reports had put his salary at around €80 million.
Loic Tanzi, a reporter for France’s L’Equipe, who is well versed in the French transfer market, said on March 13, “Neymar has agreed a two-year contract with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal. He will receive a total of 160 million euros (about 23.39 billion won) for two years. It is now up to PSG and Al-Hilal to finalize the transfer. Neymar’s departure seems certain six years after his arrival at PSG,” the publication reported.
The deal is nearly twice the size of what was previously reported. The only way to describe the move is that Neymar was tempted by oil money. Born in 1992, Neymar is still capable of performing at a world-class level. His 2022-23 season was cut short by another half due to injury, but his early season form was reminiscent of his Barcelona days.온라인바카
Neymar was on fire, breaking the 10-goal, 10-assist mark in the league in just 20 games. It was Neymar’s best season since 2017-18, when he left Barcelona for PSG. It was a season that showed that Neymar could still be a force to be reckoned with in his prime if he could manage his injuries.
But Neymar chose Al Hilal. Neymar’s decision to join Al-Hilal is being viewed very differently by soccer fans than the move of Cristiano Ronaldo or Karim Benzema to the Saudi League at the end of their careers.
With only two years left on his contract, it’s entirely possible that Neymar could return to Europe at the end of it, but at the age of mid-30s, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll be able to regain anything close to his prime. Furthermore, Neymar has had an injury-plagued career, and it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to stay on the field for long.