Brazilian soccer player Neymar has transferred to Al Hilal of the Saudi Arabian League in the Middle East. The contract runs through 2025, with a salary of 300 million euros (about 45 billion yen) over two years, and a total of 400 million euros (about 60 billion yen), including piecework. At the end of last year, the Portuguese national team’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Al Nasr in the same league for an annual salary of 200 million euros (about 30 billion yen). The Saudi Arabian League’s “buying spree” of star players was not limited to the acquisition of big-name players by a single club.
Even the famous general Guardiola said, “I can’t tell them to stop going.
On August 11, the new European soccer season began in England, Spain, and other countries, and the transfer market is undergoing a tectonic shift. Neymar, a world-class name, has decided to leave Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), where he played for six seasons in the French First Division, for Al Hilal of the Saudi Arabian League.
At his press conference, he said, “I want to make new history. The Saudi Arabian League has players with tremendous energy and quality,” he said with satisfaction.
Neymar had been released by PSG this past offseason.
His first choice was to return to Barcelona, but the conditions just weren’t right,” said the soccer reporter.
Neymar’s salary at PSG was 30 million euros per year. The Saudi Arabian league had also offered Argentine ace Messi the astronomical sum of 180 billion yen over two years, as well as plans to acquire key players from Japan’s national team, including Kubo Takefusa and Kou Itakura.
Manchester City manager Guardiola, who won the first-ever European treble with two clubs last season, also had his club’s players poached by the Saudis.
This is not a problem, but a reality. We receive unbelievable offers from Saudi Arabia. （I can’t tell [the players] to stop going.
The desire to bid for the World Cup in the year ’30 or later
The trigger for this bombing was struck in June of this year. In June of this year, a government-affiliated fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), acquired the four clubs in the Saudi Arabian Sports Authority’s Al Nasr, Al Hilal, Al Ittehad, and Al Ahli league. The new owner is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, the fund’s manager, who is just 37 years old and has also served as the country’s prime minister since last year. He has held summit meetings with successive Japanese prime ministers when they have visited Saudi Arabia, and he will eventually become the country’s king.
In 2017, the PIF invested more than 4 trillion yen in Japan’s Softbank to expand its domestic IT business.
Not to mention the overflowing oil money. the PIF released its annual report last year on the 6th of this month, announcing that it had 594.43 billion dollars (about 861.923 trillion yen) in assets under management. in 2021, it will buy Newcastle of the English Premier League for 300 million pounds (about The company is acquiring the English Premier League club Newcastle for £300 million (about ¥46 billion). It is a small investment for the PIF, such as the annual salaries paid to Neymar and Clirona. The purchase of world-class players is the beginning of a huge project that will go beyond the strengthening of a single club.
It will also make all sports leap forward.
The biggest reason for Saudi Arabia’s increased investment in soccer is its desire to bid for the World Cup in 2030 and beyond. A reporter in charge of Japan’s national soccer team revealed the following.
Qatar, a small country in the Middle East, hosted a very successful World Cup at the end of last year. That was a big trigger.
The Qatar tournament, which opened last November, was the first ever to be held in the Middle East. Before the tournament, there was a lot of negative publicity about the harsh work conditions for foreign workers and the ban on alcoholic beverages at the games, but on the other hand, the huge air-conditioned stadiums and infrastructure facilities greatly helped to increase Qatar’s global name value.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia broke off diplomatic relations from 2005 to 2009. The tension between Qatar and Saudi Arabia was so great that it was feared that a war in the Middle East was imminent. A soccer journalist with knowledge of the Middle East revealed, “Saudi Arabia is a strictly Islamic country.
Saudi Arabia strictly adheres to Islamic teachings, but Qatar allows foreigners to drink alcohol. When the two countries were cutting off diplomatic relations, Qatar was ahead of Saudi Arabia in hosting the World Cup. That is why they wanted Clirona and Neymar. When it came to negotiating Messi’s contract, I heard that not only the PIF but also the Saudi Arabian state was on a mission to conclude a contract because they would pay any amount.
Exactly 30 years ago, in 1993, Zico, Lineker, and other veteran stars of the world played in Japan after announcing their return to active duty, creating a “J-League bubble” that gave birth to a new sports culture in Japan. As if following such a history, Saudi Arabia, in order to boost its own soccer league, first of all, narrowed down the list to stars in their 30s who were already well-known worldwide, and succeeded in acquiring them.
Crown Prince Salman, who leads the PIF, said, “It is not only soccer. Behind this ambitious declaration is a plan to boost the entertainment business, starting with soccer, in order to break away from the “oil-dependent domestic economy” of the world’s second largest oil-producing nation after the United States .
Saudi Arabia is famous for its King Fahd Stadium (Riyadh), which can accommodate up to 68,752 people. Like the Berna Dome, home of the Saitama Seibu Lions professional baseball team, the stadium is covered with a roof to protect it from the strong sunlight. The stadium is equipped with air conditioning for VIPs, but not for the general public, and with a concert by the popular South Korean group BTS scheduled to take place there in 2019, it is said that the renovation of the stadium facilities with a view to making all seats air-conditioned will heat up quickly.
According to the Sun, Neymar has also made an unbelievable request to the club for “a home with eight supercars and three saunas” and “a chartered plane for him and his family to travel in,” which the club has accepted. The question is whether Neymar will be able to play with his true sharpness and excite the Saudi Arabian people. The success of the national project may depend on it.