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How Lionel Messi played key role in Neymar's move to Saudi Pro League as Al Hilal deal agreed with PSG

How Lionel Messi played key role in Neymar's move to Saudi Pro League as Al Hilal deal agreed with PSG

Neymar is set to sign for Al Hilal.

Lionel Messi played a key role in Neymar's proposed blockbuster transfer to Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal from Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar is closing in on a move to the Middle East after PSG agreed a deal with Al Hilal for £77.6 million, plus add-ons.

The transfer is subject to the Brazilian completing a medical and all necessary paperwork, with the player set to sign a two-year deal.

The Saudi Pro League side's decision to pursue Neymar comes after they failed in their attempt to sign former PSG star Messi.

Of course, the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner left Paris for Miami, signing a lucrative deal with MLS outfit Inter Miami.

Messi snubbing the Saudi Pro League prompted Al Hilal to go after Neymar, who was persuaded by the club's delegation that he should make the move to the Kingdom.

Neymar explored his options in Europe before opting to sign for Al Hilal. Barcelona were linked with a move for their former star forward, though Xavi wasn't convinced with the transfer.

A move to the Premier League was also mooted, with Manchester United and Chelsea thought to be interested. But there was no concrete offer from them.

Neymar during pre-season. Image: Getty
Neymar during pre-season. Image: Getty

Neymar, who moved to PSG for a world-record transfer of £198 million in 2017, still has two years left on his contract.

He's spent six seasons in Paris, scoring 118 goals in 173 appearances for the club.

The 31-year-old was left out of the matchday squad for PSG's Ligue season opener against Lorient last Saturday as he's not part of Luis Enrique's plans for the 2023/24 campaign.

As for Al Hilal, they boast the likes of Ruben Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Malcom, among others.

They lost to Cristiano Ronaldo's Al Nassr in the Arab Club Champions Cup final last weekend and return to action against Abha in a league outing.

Featured Image Credit: Getty/Transfers

Topics: Neymar, Lionel Messi, Saudi Pro League, Saudi Arabia, Football