Neymar, a forward for Brazil, says that Cristiano Ronaldo is changing the Saudi Pro League and that he can’t wait to play against him when he starts playing for Al-Hilal.
Neymar, who is 31 years old and was with Paris St. Germain for six years, signed a two-year deal with the Riyadh-based club on Tuesday. The deal is said to be worth about 90 million euros ($98 million).
Ronaldo, who has won the Ballon d’Or five times, signed a deal with Al-Nassr in December for the next two and a half years after leaving Manchester United in a fight.
“I think Cristiano Ronaldo started it all, and everyone called him crazy and this and that. “The league is getting bigger and bigger every day,” Neymar said in his first interview after the move on Wednesday.
Since then, the Saudi Pro League has spent more than 600 million euros to get many of the best players and leaders from European teams.
Karim Benzema, winner of the Ballon d’Or, joined from Real Madrid. Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez also joined.
“It’s fun. Meeting great players on the other team is exciting and makes you want to play even better. And when you play against Ronaldo, Benzema, or (Roberto) Firmino, the excitement is sure to be even higher,” Neymar said.
Al-Hilal gave Jorge Jesus, a Portuguese coach, a one-year contract and hired Ruben Neves, the former captain of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, Kalidou Koulibaly, a defender from Senegal, and Malcom, a scorer from Brazil.
“I think it’s important to have good players on the team. Obviously, it helps you make some choices in your job. “Yes, it was for me,” Neymar said.
“I’m very excited to start a new chapter with the club and my teammates, chasing all the goals and winning more titles to meet the club’s goals.”
In the next round of the Saudi Pro League on Saturday, Al-Hilal will play at home against Al-Feiha.