Why isn’t Neymar playing in the friendly match between Al Hilal and Inter Miami?

Riyadh based Al Hilal are odds on favourites to scoop the 2023-34 Roshn Saudi League title as, at the halfway point they currently hold a seven point advantage over Cristiano’s Al Nassr, 13 over Gabri Veiga’s Al Ahli and 22 over reigning champions, Karim Benzema’s Al Ittihad.

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Hilal’s Portuguese midfielder #08 Ruben Neves (R) FAYEZ NURELDINEAFP

Currently unbeaten Al Hilal have invested heavily, spending more than 300 million in signings last summer and are one of the four traditional powerhouses in the domestic Saudi league and have a squad boasting the likes of Yaccine Bono, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Neymar Jr.

Lodi for Neymar

In August 2023, the Blue Waves paid 90 million euro to sign Neymar Jr. from PSG with the Brazilian destined to be one of the pillars in the new project. However, a serious cruciate ligament injury sustained in October playing with Brazil saw the striker just pull on the Al Hilal blue jersey five times with Neymar bagging one goal for the Saudi side.

Brazil's Neymar reacts after sustaining an injury

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Brazil’s Neymar reacts after sustaining an injury ANDRES CUENCAREUTERS

The Brazilian has also seen is value plummet and now is worth €45 million ($49m), €15 million less than when he signed last summer according to Transfermarkt and this and an all-time low since he left Santos. His injury is likely to be the key factor but many Saudi Pro League players have experienced a dip in value such as Mané, Firmino, Milinkovic-Savic, Fabinho, Carrasco and Firmino.

Given that Neymar’s injury and subsequent rehabilitation will see him miss the entire 2023-24 season, the Saudi club have taken his foreign player slot and allocated it to former Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi who has been signed to shore up the Blue Waves rearguard.

Why isn’t Neymar playing in the friendly match between Al Hilal and Inter Miami?

What time does Al-Hilal – Inter Miami start?

The game between Al-Hilal and Inter Miami will be played on Monday, 29 January 2024 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, with kick-off at 1:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 a.m. PT.


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