Published: 2023-08-17 11:15
Last Updated: 2023-12-08 21:41
Brazil forward Neymar said he is "so excited" to join the Saudi Pro League and "write history", during his first interview after leaving Paris Saint-Germain and signing a two-year deal with Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal football club.
In the interview, he said: "It's a big change, but a different one. I believe Cristiano Ronaldo started all of this and everybody called him crazy and things like that. Today, you can see the League growing more and more."
He also said: "Yes, of course, it is exciting and thrilling meeting top players on the other teams. It's a motivation to play as best as possible. It is a given when you face Ronaldo, Benzema or Firmino that the excitement will be even greater. So I am happy to be join this league, facing them will be wonderful, it will be fantastic."
The Brazilian forward (31) ended his six-year stay in the French capital and follows in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Sadio Mane in swapping Europe for the Middle East.
"I have achieved a lot in Europe and enjoyed special times, but I have always wanted to be a global player and test myself with new challenges and opportunities in new places," Neymar said in a statement from the Saudi Pro League.
"I want to write new sporting history, and the Saudi Pro League has tremendous energy and quality players at the moment," he added.
"Al-Hilal is a giant club with fantastic fans, and it is the best in Asia. This gives me a feeling that it is the right decision for me at the right time with the right club. I love winning and scoring goals, and I plan to continue doing that in Saudi Arabia and with Al-Hilal."
Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017 for a world record fee of USD 242 million, a few weeks before they recruited Kylian Mbappe.
The Brazilian scored 118 goals in 173 matches for PSG, winning five Ligue 1 titles and three French Cups.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said in a statement from the French champions: "It is always difficult to say goodbye to an amazing player like Neymar, one of the best players in the world."
"I will never forget the day he arrived at Paris Saint-Germain, and what he has contributed to our club and our project over the last six years. We had a great moment and Neymar will always be a big part of our history."