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Earlier this week, Brazilian superstar Neymar left the field in tears during Brazil’s defeat to Uruguay in Montevideo, and the Brazilian FA has since confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligaments and will require surgery.
Early reports from Globoesporte suggest the 31-year-old forward will be away from the pitch for at least six months.
Is the Neymar injury the most expensive ever, and just how much will this cost his club Al-Hilal both on and off the pitch?
Neymar injury: How much does it cost Al-Hilal?
When Neymar signed a multi-year deal with the Saudi Arabia giants, it was widely reported that the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain attacker will receive an annual salary of $200m with add ons.
That was on top of the huge outlay to secure his services, the 18-times league winners had to fork out $100m to prise him away from Paris.
That works out to an eye-watering $3.85m per week, meaning Ney could earn around $100m while sitting in the treatment room. The Riyadh-based club will be regretting their lack of return on investment, their record signing has made just five appearances and scored one goal.
Neymar injury: How does it affect Al-Hilal’s title chances?
It isn’t just the financial aspect, with the Saudi Pro League in full swing this latest injury could affect the Blue Waves’ title chances.
After nine games Al-Hilal sit proudly top of the table, but are just one point ahead of Al-Taawoun and four points from the chasing pack. Al-Ahli, Al-Itthiad and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al-Nassr are all on 19 points and there are plenty of games to go.
It is true that Jorge Jesus has found that winning touch even in the games without Brazil’s all-time topscorer. They picked up 13 points from a possible 15 in the opening five games the former Champions League winner missed, also through injury.
In his absence, there will be added pressure on compatriot Malcom and Serbia’s Aleksander Mitrovic to continue their rich scoring form. That is along with local hero Salem Al-Dawsari who has already found the net eight times this season.
Neymar injury: When can fans hope to see him play again?
Early indications point to a return date towards the end of March 2024, but exact recovery time for ACL injuries are difficult to predict before surgery has even taken place.
Al-Hilal have stated that a “treatment plan will be determined later” as they sent out a message of support to their marquee player.
The medical tests “NEYMAR ” underwent, confirmed the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Meniscus tear injury in his knee, he will be going through surgery and then a treatment program that will be determined later..
— AlHilal Saudi Club (@Alhilal_EN) October 18, 2023
The 24th matchday of the Saudi Pro League is currently scheduled for the last weekend of March, so there is still hope that Neymar could play over ten league games this season. On the international stage he will be eyeing the Copa America which is set to take place in the United States from June.
By then, the São Paulo native will have turned 32 years old, but there is no doubt he still has plenty of objectives left in football both with club and country.
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