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Brazilian soccer star Neymar is heading to Saudi Arabia, to the delight of many Paris Saint-Germain fans.
Neymar, previously considered one of the world’s best players, announced Tuesday that he was joining the Saudi Pro League team Al-Hilal. In doing so, he joins Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the few elite European club players to make the jump to the Middle East.
At just 31-years-old, Neymar isn’t far removed from his run at Barcelona, keeping his marketability level absurdly high. And as MLS can attest with Lionel Messi, marketability matters.
Neymar brings his 212 million Instagram followers to Al-Hilal and boy oh boy are they paying for the privilege.
According to a report from Foot Mercato, Neymar’s receiving an unbelievable list of perks in his time in Saudi Arabia.
- $326 Million in salary
- $546,000 per post on his social accounts
- Bonuses for wins
- A plane and a mansion
You can see why he took the money.
How Many More Players Will Follow In Neymar’s Footsteps?
Competition in the Saudi league is nowhere close to that of the major European competitions. There are obvious human rights issues with the Saudis, as LIV Golfers know all too well.
But at the end of the day, for many athletes, money talks. And the Saudis are offering a hell of a lot of money.
Neymar, who already was extremely wealthy, will soon be at the “buy another team” level of wealth that few stars have reached. For other players based in European leagues, that might be too tempting to pass up.
MLS was able to keep Messi away from the Saudis, but how many others won’t be able to resist?
Neymar’s inarguably declined from his elite peak after injuries and a mildly disappointing stint at PSG. But for other players at the height of their talents the Saudi Pro League could offer money European clubs aren’t able to compete with.
What that means for the future of soccer is anyone’s guess, but Neymar’s certainly secured his.