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Neymar set to leave PSG for Saudi Arabia rather than MLS: how much will he earn at Al Hilal?

The Brazilian star looks likely to face off against Cristiano Ronaldo and not former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi this season.

La razón por la que Neymar rechazó a la MLS y fichó con Arabia

Neymar is set to follow in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema by leaving Europe for the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. The Paris Saint-Germain winger is on the verge of agreeing a move to Saudi Pro League side Al Hilal, which would end rumours of a move back to Barcelona and a reunion with former teammate Lionel Messi in MLS.

Which MLS clubs were linked with Neymar?

There had been plenty of talk in recent days that the Brazilian international could follow Inter Miami star Messi to the United States, with LA Galaxy, LAFC, New York City FC and Orlando City all touted as possible destinations.

Why was MLS not a realistic destination for the PSG star?

However, a potential transfer stateside was made impossible by the fact PSG were not willing to rip up his contract and were instead looking for a transfer fee, as is their right.

Earlier this week, NYCFC sporting director David Lee admitted there was very little chance of the 31-year-old ending up in MLS following the closure of the league’s Secondary Transfer Window on 2 August, with clubs only able to sign free agents until 13 September.

“I think the situation is more than clear. Our transfer window is closed. He is under contract with PSG. We cannot sign players when the transfer window closed. He is an incredible player, but the situation is clear. We can only sign players who were free agents before the market closed,” Lee said on a NYCFC podcast.

One loophole that had been mooted was Neymar moving on loan to Manchester City, the flagship club of the City Football Group, who are the majority owners of The Pigeons and could sort out a smooth passage for the player to end up in The Big Apple. However, it seems the former Barça star’s preference is Saudi Arabia and Al Hilal.

Neymar didn't play in PSG's first league game of the season against Lorient.
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Neymar didn't play in PSG's first league game of the season against Lorient. ANTHONY WALLACEAFP

Which other players play for Al Hilal?

If the attacker does make the move to Riyadh, he will link up with ex-Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Portuguese midfielder Rúben Neves, former Lazio man Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and compatriot Malcom, who also played at Camp Nou.

How much would PSG and Neymar make from the transfer?

The transfer would see Paris Saint-Germain recoup a reported €120 million ($131.57 million) of the €222 million ($243.41 million) they spent to sign him from Barcelona in 2017. Neymar’s is expected to pocket a salary of up to €160 million ($175.43 million) over two years.