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Neymar: Brazilian star credits Cristiano Ronaldo for Saudi football league influx

There has been a latest addition to the humongous Saudi football craze as Brazilian and former FC Barcelona stalwart Neymar has joined forces in Riyadh-based club Al-Hilal, and reveals his excitement to face the likes of superstars like Ronaldo, Benzema and Firmino, among others. He also credited former Real Madrid star Ronaldo in order to ‘lure’ top European players to join hands with him in the Saudi League.

Neymar joins Al-Hilal

In one of the whirlwind transfer window which has seen several European heavyweight names like Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Karim Benzema and Kante join Saudi Pro League sides like Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahli, there is another new premium entry in the list as former PSG and Barcelona legend Neymar joined Al-Hilal, a club which is based out of Saudi capital Riyadh. Once rumored to have linked with his former club, the place which awarded him a legendary status, FC Barcelona, Neymar decided to ply his trade in the Gulf country, which has recently seen a widespread influx of superstars of European football.

Neymar has agreed on a two-year deal with the club, which will see him donning the Al-Hilal jersey till 2025, as a lucrative deal comprising several humongous perks like a private jet and mansion. In a tender interview, he has credited Ronaldo as the predecessor in luring players to Saudi Pro League. Reportedly, the generational talent Ronaldo had joined Al-Nassr in January, after his second stint at ‘home’-Manchester United, turned to a bitter ending.

“Ronaldo started all of this…”

In his first interview as an Al-Hilal player, Neymar stated that it was because of Portuguese and World Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo that the influx in Saudi football has amassed to greater pinnacles. He said, “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. 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. “

Both Neymar and Ronaldo are two of the greatest footballers, owing to their exploits on the biggest stage. They have achieved numerous accolades, both for club and country, thus helping Saudi to eye one of the biggest markets in world football. They have already managed to bring on deck several top stars and coaches like Steven Gerrard and Nuno Espirito Santo, distinguished gaffers who have ruled Scottish League and Premier League, and would look for further reinforcement by hiring other top stars.

“I’m very excited”

Neymar revealed his excitement ahead of his first game for the Hilalis, as he was heard saying, “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. 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.”

Ronaldo’s influence in the Saudi League has been staggering. He has signed for the club on a two-and-a-half-year deal in January, and has already emulated his knack of winning trophies by leading the side to Arab Club Champions Cup, and a second place finish on last season’s Saudi Pro League roster.

Viewers across the world will be glued to television and streaming platforms when all these stars take their new step to glory, this time in Asia.

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