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Neymar Credits Ronaldo for Saudi League Change

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Neymar Credits Ronaldo for Saudi League Change

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Neymar has credited Cristiano Ronaldo’s pivotal role in catalyzing the impressive transformation of the Saudi Pro League. The Brazilian star expressed his fervent determination to bring success to Al Hilal, citing strong motivation for his commitment.

In a headline-grabbing transfer this week, 31-year-old Neymar made a significant shift from Paris Saint-Germain to Hilal, setting a new benchmark in the Saudi Pro League (SPL) transfer records. His move adds to the growing list of esteemed players relocating to the kingdom in an extraordinary summer transfer period.

Concluding his six-year tenure with Paris St Germain, 31-year-old Neymar inked a two-year agreement with the Riyadh-centered club on Tuesday, sealing a deal estimated at approximately 90 million euros ($98 million). Preceding this move, Cristiano Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d’Or laureate, had a similar situation. In December, he entered a two-and-a-half-year commitment with Al-Nassr following his departure from Manchester United.

Reflecting on the changing landscape of football, Neymar spoke candidly in his initial post-transfer interview on Wednesday, crediting Cristiano Ronaldo for instigating this shift. “I believe Cristiano Ronaldo started all of this and everybody called him ‘crazy’, and this and that. Today you see the league grow more and more,” Neymar remarked, highlighting the impact of such high-profile transfers.


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Since that time, the Saudi Pro League has significantly poured in an investment exceeding 600 million euros to attract a lineup of distinguished players and coaches from European clubs. This impressive roster includes prominent figures such as Karim Benzema, the Ballon d’Or recipient from Real Madrid, along with Jordan Henderson, the captain of Liverpool, and Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City.

“It is exciting, meeting top-quality players on the other teams thrills you and motivates you to play even better. And it is a given when you face Ronaldo, Benzema, (Roberto) Firmino, that the excitement is even greater,” Neymar said.

Al-Hilal has welcomed back Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus for another term through a one-year contract. Additionally, they have fortified their squad with a diverse blend of talents, including former Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Ruben Neves, Serbian standout Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly, and Brazilian striker Malcom.

“I think it is very important to have quality in the squad. Obviously, it helps in some decisions you take throughout you career. It was certainly for me,” Neymar said.

“I am very excited to write a new story chasing all the objectives with the club and my team mates – winning more and more titles and fulfilling the club’s ambition.”

Neymar undoubtedly brings more star power to the SPL with his two-year deal with Al-Hilal. He joins the league with one of the most successful records in football, having won 22 major club trophies for Santos, Barcelona, and PSG, including seven league titles, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa Libertadores.

So, he’s a perfect match for Hilal, the most successful club in Asian soccer with 66 awards, including 18 championships and four Asian Champions League titles. However, Neymar emphasized concentrating on the current and upcoming times.

“The league will be very competitive, especially after the signings made in the summer transfer window,” he said. “I believe competitiveness is important. That’s why I am joining this league. I am driven by challenges. I am there to help the league grow.”


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