Al-Hilal: Neymar’s Terrible Nightmare Continues

Several months after his major injury, Neymar still doesn’t seem ready to return to football. His comeback to competition has been delayed once again.

Neymar’s Saudi adventure began almost a year ago. So far, it’s been virtually non-existent. Last summer, after six seasons at Paris, the Brazilian international moved to Al-Hilal and the Saudi Pro League. It was an opportunity for him to end his career with a massive contract in a league filled with stars. For PSG, it was a chance to offload a frequently injured player, often criticised for his lifestyle, and now 31 years old, for a huge sum of over 90 million euros. A perfect opportunity. But for Al-Hilal, who had the means, they also needed performance on the field.

So far, that has been far from the case. Since his arrival on August 15, 2023, the former FC Barcelona forward has had a nearly blank season. He has only played five matches this season (scoring one goal). This is due to a severe injury sustained while playing for Brazil. Less than three weeks after arriving in Saudi Arabia, Neymar suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee during a match against Bolivia. This injury ruled him out for the entire season and he has already bid farewell to the Copa América taking place this summer.

Neymar Still Not Ready

Since then, he has had to watch helplessly as his club won the Saudi Pro League (undefeated) and the Saudi Super Cup. But when will we see the Brazilian star back on the field? His rehabilitation doesn’t seem to be going as planned. Initially expected to return before the end of the season, the 32-year-old player had already fallen behind schedule. It was then announced that he would be back for Al-Hilal’s pre-season, and thus the start of the new season. However, that will not be the case. In a press conference, Jorge Jesus, the Portuguese coach of the Saudi champions, revealed that Neymar will miss the start of the season. “All I know for now is that the recovery time for Neymar, and generally for this type of injury, is 10 to 11 months. If we do the math, he won’t be ready for pre-season. He won’t be competitive in these conditions,” he explained.

This prolonged wait is frustrating for both the player and Al-Hilal supporters, who have barely had the chance to witness the Brazilian’s magic. It must also be interminable for the Saudi executives who pay Neymar 100 million euros a year. The first year has been far from profitable. He needs to get back on his feet quickly, especially as, at 32, many question his ability to regain top-level fitness. Recent photos posted on social media don’t particularly show a player in great shape. Neymar’s nightmare in Saudi Arabia continues…

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