Neymar finally makes Saudi Pro League debut for Al-Hilal

Neymar finally makes Saudi Pro League debut for Al-Hilal
Injury had kept Neymar from giving Al-Hilal fans a glimpse of his talents, but the Brazil superstar finally made his debut for the Saudi club.
2 min read
16 September, 2023
Neymar is Brazil's leading scorer but didn't make the scoresheet on his debut for Al-Hilal [Getty]

Brazilian superstar Neymar finally made his Saudi Pro League debut last night, coming off the bench around the hour mark as Al-Hilal demolished their city rivals Al-Riyadh 6-1.

Anticipation among fans of seeing their club's £77 million summer signing from Paris Saint-Germain was palpable, with fans unveiling a banner celebrating him as "Brazil's all-time top scorer", a feat which he recently achieved, with his  brace for Brazil against Bolivia seeing him surpass the legendary Pele. 

Injury had kept the Brazilian from making his debut earlier in the club's Pro League campaign. 

On the 64th minute, however, the fans of the club nicknamed 'Al-Za'eem' (The Boss) finally got their wish as the 31-year-old was introduced, setting up fellow Brazilian Malcolm to score the team’s fourth goal.

There was, however, controversy late on as  fans were denied a chance to see the former Barcelona man open his scoring account for the club.

In the closing stages of the game, the Riyadh-based club were awarded a penalty, which many in the stadium assumed Neymar would take. However, to the anger and surprise of fans, captain Salem Aldawsari opted to take the spot kick himself and cooly slotted it home to make it six, despite the boos of the fans.

Along with Malcolm and Aldawsari, Serbia’s Alexander Mitrovic, a £46 million summer signing from Fulham, scored a first half penalty, with Yasser Alshahrani and Nasser Aldawsari also making the scoresheet.

The result moved the Public Investment Fund-owned Al-Hilal into top spot with five wins out of six matches. Fellow PIF-funded club and reigning champions Al-Ittihad, home to Karim Benzema, are close behind in second, while Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr sit in seventh.