Neymar Jr: Ronaldo ‘used to be ridiculed’ when he went to Saudi to play

Neymar expressed gratitude to Cristiano Ronaldo for paving the way for other football greats to visit Saudi Arabia.

I think Cristiano Ronaldo started it all, and he was called insane for going to the Saudi Pro League to play football and then mocking all kinds of things, Neymar remarked in his first interview as a professional athlete. On August 16th, in Al Hilal. You’ve apparently become a die-hard tournament viewer.

By signing a contract with Al Nassr in January 2023, Ronaldo made history as the first major star to play in Saudi Arabia. The Portuguese forward predicted at the time that the Saudi Pro League would soon crack the world’s top five. This was due to the country’s ambitious plans to invest heavily in the sport. A lot of people took issue with Ronaldo’s comments, but seven months later, they’re all starting to come true.

On August 15, Neymar made his Al Hilal debut.

Neymar, Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Roberto Firmino were just some of the other A-listers who accompanied Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia. Here, Ronaldo, Neymar, and Benzema can earn up to USD $200,000,000 annually. Other celebrities earn between tens and one hundred million dollars annually, which is a lot more than they make in Europe.

Neymar has shown an interest in creating a milestone with the Saudi national football team. The best Brazilian scorer like it when the Saudi Pro League is lively and full of talented players. Neymar elaborated, calling Al Hilal “the best club in Asia” because of the club’s size and the quality of its fans. Knowing that I made the correct choice at the right moment with the right club gives me more assurance. If I can win or score a goal, I’m happy. I intend to keep doing it in Saudi Arabia and for Al Hilal.

Al Hilal must pay PSG a transfer fee of 98.3 million USD to acquire Neymar. This is a significant discount from PSG’s record 263 million to acquire Neymar from Barcelona in 2017. The 31-year-old Brazilian forward spent six years playing for the French team, during which time he won five Ligue 1 titles and scored 118 goals in 173 total games.

“It’s hard to say goodbye to a great player like Neymar, one of the best in the world,” admitted PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi.

In Saudi Arabia, no other team has had as much success as Al Hilal. They have won the AFC Champions League four times and the Asian C2 Cup twice, and they hold three records for most victories in the Saudi Pro League.

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) stated in June that it would be investing in four Saudi Pro League teams (Al-Ittihad, Al-Ahli, Al-Nassr, and Al Hilal). Newcastle United, the Premier League club that qualified for the Champions League by finishing fourth last season, is owned by the same investment fund.