Lionel Messi’s departure to Inter Miami not long after Cristiano Ronaldo’s path-breaking renesting to the Saudi Pro League puts football fans in a state where they are forced to adapt to pretty much anything, be it big stars like Neymar or Karim Benzema. Like the gaping hole left by the two players who redefined the creamy layer of European football wasn’t enough to unsettle them, the ‘football Gods’ of Saudi have also plucked the short-term heir to their throne, Neymar.
Since Neymar agreed to join Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal last week, speculations of having to trim the squad have risen to the top. Apart from the Brazilian Superstar, Al-Hilal has added several new talents to their quiver of arrows lately and is still in the transfer hunt.
Al Hilal faces squad shake-up after Neymar’s signing due to AFC rules
The transfer frenzy spearheaded by Saudi Pro League clubs like Al-Hilal might come to an unexpected halt as they face the threat of leaving some of their priced foreign assets unregistered in the upcoming AFC tournament. According to the regulations of the Saudi League, the squad limit specifies a total of only eight foreign players to be registered in the club squad. Recently, the club has flown in striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, midfielder Ruben Neves, Brazilian winger Malcom, and Sevilla goalkeeper Yassine Bounou to add to the previously purchased foreign talent.
Four-time AFC Champions League winners Al Hilal’s miseries of abundance are not much different from the case of other clubs like Al-Nassr as they also find themselves at a similar impasse.
To further the clutter in procedures, the AFC Champions League, the prestigious continental cup, strictly directs the clubs to register as few as five foreign players in their squad for the tournament. When you buy arguably the most talented dribbler in the world from a European giant like PSG, as a club, you are expected to hand him the opportunity to flaunt his skills on the biggest stage of club football in Asia. It is inevitable now that the club has revisited its insides and forced some significant figures out.
Official, confirmed. Neymar Jr joins Al Hilal on $300m package record salary in two years, no option to extend 🚨🔵🇸🇦
Salary could go up to potential $400m total until 2025 based on add-ons & commercial deals.
Deal completed by his father Neymar Pai and super agent Pini Zahavi. pic.twitter.com/M3YDaFsWQ0
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 15, 2023
The club has already begun the trimming process as former players Luciano Vietto, Odion Ighalo, and Andre Carrillo have all joined other Saudi clubs. Given this scenario, Neymar’s arrival has seen Mali Striker Moussa Marega pushed out of the squad and released by the club.
More substantial decisions are awaited as the Al Hilal squad gets cropped further to fit the frame of the AFC tournament.
How much has Al Hilal paid to PSG for Neymar?
When the most illustrious club out of the four clubs owned by the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) approached French giants PSG for their beloved Brazilian, everyone knew that only a humongous fee could pull it through. At 31, Neymar remains the player who got transferred for the most enormous sum ever from Barcelona to PSG, which amounts to a whopping $263 Million.
Now that the private Boeing 747 plane sent by a Saudi Prince to escort Ney has safely touched down in Saudi, it is reported that PSG received approximately $102 Million for his departure.
neymar already got the whole al hilal squad laughing 😭 pic.twitter.com/lAT2dt98FI
— ⚽️ (@neyizzle) August 23, 2023
How do you think Neymar’s story will pan out in his new club? Let us know in the comments section.