Neymar Gala Set Welcome to Megabucks Saudi Club

According to a source close to the negotiations, Neymar would make 100 million euros a season in Saudi Arabia and PSG will collect 100 million.

Saturday will see the unveiling of Brazilian superstar Neymar, the latest world-famous footballer signed by the big-spending Saudi Pro League. The flashy forward, 31, will join fellow Brazilian Malcolm and Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou in Al-Hilal’s 68,000-capacity Riyadh stadium. Neymar is excited to join a long list of stars in their twilight who have been tempted by oil-rich Saudi Arabia’s hefty contracts.

Despite injury issues, Neymar joined Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record 222 million euros ($242 million). He scored 118 goals in 173 outings.

According to a source close to the negotiations, he will make 100 million euros a season in Saudi Arabia and PSG will collect 100 million.

The Saudi Pro League’s plans were set in action in January when Cristiano Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr for two-and-a-half years for 400 million euros.

The Saudi league, a football backwater, signed some of the biggest stars in the sport, launching a spectacular summer transfer window.

In June, Al-Ittihad signed Karim Benzema, Riyadh Mahrez, Sadio Mane, N’Golo Kante, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, and others.

According to, four Saudi teams—Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ahli, and Al-Ittihad—have spent approximately 560 million euros in the current transfer window, second only to Chelsea.

The Public Investment Fund, a sovereign wealth vehicle, owns the four clubs and has been aggressively diversifying the world’s largest oil exporter’s economy.

Lionel Messi, who chose Inter Miami, and Kylian Mbappe, who left PSG, declined to meet Al-Hilal authorities.

Off the pitch, Liverpool star Steven Gerrard joined Al-Ettifaq, ex-Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo became Saudi league director of football, and Jose Mourinho joined Saudi’s Mahd Sports Academy board.

The Saudi transfer market closes on September 20, three weeks after Europe, which has alarmed other leagues. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has expressed concern.

Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus is on his second tenure at Al-Hilal, which has five European-bound players: Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Kalidou Koulibaly, Malcom, and Bounou.

Al-Hilal is one of Saudi Arabia’s top clubs and has won the Asian Champions League four times.