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Neymar Jr officially unveiled as Al-Hilal player

Neymar Jr. is greeted as he attends the official unveiling as a new member of Saudi Al Hilal club at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023   -  
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Saudi Arabia

Neymar Jr. was unveiled by Saudi club Al hilal at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh on Saturday (Aug. 19).

Brazil's all-time best scorer was welcomed at Al-Hilal’s 70,000-capacity stadium, alongside two other new signings; fellow Brazilian Malcolm and Moroccan goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.

''Good night to all Al Hilal fans.'' "I'm very happy with this reception, with this new challenge. I'm impressed, and super happy," he told cheering fans.

The 31-year-old signed a two-year contract that is expected to earn him an annual salary of about $100 million.

He vowed to bring more and more excitement to the fans with his new team.

Neymar was Al Hilal's sixth signing this summer, after compatriot Malcom, Portugal midfielder Rúben Neves and Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Al Hilal, a record 18-time national champion, is one of four Saudi clubs effectively nationalized by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the sovereign wealth fund that claims assets of about $700 billion.

"I have achieved a lot in Europe and enjoyed special times, but I have always wanted to be a global player and test myself with new challenges and opportunities in new places," Neymar previously said in the club's announcement. "I want to write new sporting history, and the Saudi Pro League has tremendous energy and quality players at the moment."

Yet he never won the Champions League with PSG after his move from Barcelona for 222 million euros (now $244 million), which remains a world-record transfer fee in soccer.

Neymar reportedly wanted to rejoin Barcelona but the Spanish club couldn't afford the financial package required for the transfer. No other top European club was willing — or wealthy enough — to sign Neymar, who has struggled with injuries in recent years.

He was an undoubtedly talented yet often frustrating figure at the PSG, which put together a star-studded forward line of Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi and now only has one of them left.

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