“Lee Kang-in, Neymar bromance, preseason memories are everything” France also wistfully looks on…the pair say a tender ‘goodbye’

August 17, 2023 | by

France was just as disappointed as South Korea.

Neymar has left Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after all. “Neymar has signed a contract with us until 2025,” Al-Hilal said on the club’s website on Saturday. The club’s board of directors has finalized the signing of the Brazilian No. 10, who has the same number of goals as Pele (77 for the Brazilian national team) and is the star of Paris Saint-Germain,” the club announced.

PSG also announced on their website: “We would like to thank Neymar, a club legend. He is leaving PSG to sign for Saudi club Al-Hilal. During his six seasons here, he left a huge mark on the club’s history.”

“I want to make new history in the Al-Hilal shirt,” Neymar said. “The Saudi Professional League has a lot of energy, a lot of quality players, and is currently experiencing incredible growth. So I believe this is where I wanted to be. Al Hilal is a huge club with fantastic fans, the best in Asia. It feels like the right decision at the right time. I love winning and I love scoring goals. I love winning and scoring goals, and I plan to continue to do so in Saudi Arabia and at Al Hilal.”

PSG President Nasser El-Khelaifi added: “I will never forget the day Neymar arrived at PSG and his contribution to the club and the project over the past six years. We had some great moments and Neymar will always be a big part of our history. I would like to thank Neymar and his family. We wish him all the best for the future and his next adventure.”

[Lee Kang-in says goodbye to Neymar, and France reacts].

After Neymar’s transfer to Al Hilal was confirmed, Lee Kang-in posted a farewell message on social media. Under an affectionate photo, Lee wrote, “It was a short time, but it was very special to me. Thank you so much, and I wish you all the best,” he wrote in a heartfelt message.

Neymar then replied. “A short time, but already in my heart,” Neymar wrote. See you later, son,” he wrote.

“Neymar and Lee have developed a bromance during pre-season,” PSG Talk reported. But with Neymar’s departure to Al Hilal, the memories made on the summer tour and in training became all they had.”

Foot Mercato concluded, “A beautiful exchange between Lee and Neymar. Lee moved to PSG this summer and had ambitions to develop alongside the best players on the planet like Neymar. The two players seemed to have a great relationship, but then Neymar decided to move to Al Hilal. Lee will be very disappointed to lose him.”

Le 10 Sport added: “Lee is sad (about Neymar’s move). Lee Kang-in, who has been close to Neymar since joining PSG, posted on social media,” and ‘Tutto Mercato’ wrote, “When Lee arrived in Paris this summer, he dreamed of meeting and playing with many soccer stars. The bond with Neymar was especially special. But then Neymar decided to leave PSG and go to Saudi Arabia.”

[Memories from the short preseason].

Lee exchanged jerseys with Neymar during the round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Neymar was the first to ask, and Lee graciously obliged. The meeting was finalized when Lee moved to PSG.

It was a big deal from the start. In July, PSG posted a video on their channel titled “A look back at Lee’s first days at the club and his first team training session at the PSG training center”. It’s 1 minute and 27 seconds long and includes a physical examination, stretching, strength training, and outdoor team drills.

It’s an authentic video that doesn’t miss a beat. Lee first changed into his training clothes and went through a physical examination. He then moved on to the massage room, where the ‘world class’ Neymar was on the bed next to him. He then went indoors and chatted with Juan Bernat and Luca Hernandez. After training indoors, Lee went outdoors and was accompanied by Carlos Soler. After a quick warm-up, the training began in earnest. Under the watchful eye of Luis Enrique, they worked up a sweat, and then a moment came. Lee Kang-in sprinted after a one-on-one pass, with Enrique right in front of him applauding and shouting encouragement. With the final run around the pitch, the first day of training came to an end.

Lee and Neymar quickly bonded and showed a lot of chemistry. They were seen cuddling and fooling around in team training early in the preseason, and they had a hilarious bench talk during the preseason tour of Japan.

It was no different in South Korea. The PSG squad flew in through Gimhae Airport, and Lee walked through immigration with Neymar and Keylor Navas. During an open training session, Lee’s face was shown on the big screen, and Neymar, who was next to him, went over and waved. Neymar’s “obsession” was evident even afterward. The PSG players were divided into three groups to play rondo, and Neymar gestured to Lee Kang-in, saying, ‘Come over here’. However, Lee Kang-in went to the side where he was originally assigned.

The third section worked on ball possession. Lee wore a yellow vest and was tasked with passing the ball to both teams. Neymar was nearby, and when he got the ball, he gave Lee a playful kick, which Lee accepted with a smile.

Neymar had a huge game against Jeonbuk. He was a surprise starter, and after a few moments of adjustment at the start of the game, he was world-class. He broke down the Jeonbuk defense with his dazzling footwork and dribbling runs.

He even opened the scoring. In the 40th minute, he dribbled brilliantly inside the penalty box and, after a confrontation with Han Kyo-won, used Bal Jae-gan to widen the angle of his shot. The ball deflected off Hong Jeong-ho and into the back of the net.

It was more of the same in the second half. Neymar remained on the pitch and made his presence felt by running down the flanks. Every time Neymar caught the ball and swung it, the crowd roared. Every move was a masterpiece. He even scored another goal. In the 38th minute, Luis played a through ball that Neymar quickly cut inside. He was then one-on-one with the goalkeeper and calmly finished to split the net.

Neymar was especially affectionate with Lee Kang-in after the goal.

There was no shortage of fan service along the way. Neymar is a set-piece kicker, and when he goes to take a corner kick, he waves to the crowd and interacts with them.

“Somehow, I got to know all the players, not just Neymar. From the first time I arrived, I was welcomed and accepted well. It’s an honor to play on a team with so many good players, and I will do my best to show my best.”

After the game against Jeonbuk, Lee posted on social media, “I think I was able to play this game because of the fans who showed me great love and support even in such hot weather. Thank you for supporting the team at the airport, hotel, open training, and on the field. I will do my best to show you good things this season! Stay safe in the heat, everyone, KR♥,” he wrote. Neymar then wrote “Kanguinho” in the comments, creating a huge buzz.

Now they’re cheering each other on from the sidelines.

Neymar is one of the best technicians in the world. He’s been a promising attacker since he was a teenager, moving straight from Brazilian side Santos to Barcelona to play in Europe. He formed the “MSN Line” with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, racking up tons of offensive points. In 186 official appearances, he scored 105 goals and provided 76 assists. With Barcelona, he won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey titles, two Supercopa de España titles, one UEFA Champions League (UCL) title, one UEFA Super Cup, and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Then, in the summer of 2017, the transfer of the century happened. Neymar donned the PSG shirt for a transfer fee of €222 million (approximately $324 billion). It was an astronomical sum that still stands as a world record.

Neymar started playing at the Parc des Princes in the 2017-18 season. In his six seasons with the club, he has scored 118 goals and provided 77 assists in 173 games. He has won every trophy imaginable in France, with only the UCL trophy missing. They made it all the way to the final in the 2019-20 season, losing 0-1 to Bayern Munich.

Neymar’s contract runs until June 2027. When he signed a new deal in May 2021, it was for a base four-year term with a two-year extension option. The two years were triggered in July 2021 and July 2022.

Over time, Neymar has become an “ugly duckling” at PSG. In May, PSG fans staged a violent protest outside Neymar’s home. They chanted “leave the club,” demanded a transfer, and shouted profanities at Neymar.

Lionel Messi was also involved. Messi, an ambassador for the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Tourism, traveled to Saudi Arabia in early May. He was punished by PSG with a two-week suspension. While different media outlets claimed different things, Spain’s Sport reported that “Messi had asked the club to allow him to travel to Saudi Arabia for one day to fulfill a business appointment that he had already had to postpone twice. However, as Messi was boarding the plane and heading to Saudi Arabia, PSG abruptly changed the schedule and announced a training session. Messi was unable to return, and PSG informed him that they had decided to suspend him for two weeks.”

When PSG fans heard the news, they went to the club’s offices and organized a protest. PSG fans also organized a second protest in front of Neymar’s house. It turns out that Neymar was quite shocked by the whole thing.

Four years before his contract expires, a move to Saudi Arabia is in the spotlight. It started last June. “Neymar is on the Saudi radar,” said CBS Sports. The Saudis are trying to sign the world’s most expensive soccer player (all-time transfer fee). A high-level delegation from Saudi Al-Hilal traveled to Paris on Friday to confirm a possible transfer. The personal terms are similar to Ronaldo’s: €200 million per year. In addition, they are ready to pay a transfer fee of 45 million euros ($66 billion),” the report said.

However, the deal fell through as Neymar was considering retirement from PSG. “Neymar has stayed at PSG despite the transfer speculation. And it looks like it will continue. He wants to retire at PSG. Neymar’s desire is to finish his career with PSG and help them succeed in the UCL, which they have yet to conquer. He has no plans to represent another team,” and Neymar said, “I want to play for PSG. I have a contract with the club and no one has said anything to me so far. I will stay at PSG even if I am not loved by the fans and players.”

In August, the fire was reignited. PSG planned to sell Neymar, and he agreed to move on. On August 11, Loic Tansey of France’s L’Equipe wrote: “The position is clear. PSG and Neymar have agreed to find a common solution before the end of the transfer window. It’s just a matter of finding a destination that suits everyone.” And on the 13th, European transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano wrote: “Al Hilal has made a significant offer for Neymar. Sources described it as a ‘huge bid’. Negotiations are ongoing to reach a full agreement and Neymar is tempted by the possibility. Work is underway to part ways with PSG.”

“Neymar and Al Hilal are in advanced talks. We have already delivered official documents to the player’s side. The deal is ongoing and Barcelona can reactivate the contract of João Felix if Neymar does not join them.”

Fabrice Hawkins of France’s RMC Sport added: “Neymar is very close to signing for Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal. PSG and Al-Hilal have agreed a huge fee. After six years at PSG, Neymar’s exit is imminent.”

Eventually, the transfer was finalized. On the 14th, Romano tweeted “HERE WE GO,” signaling the finalization of the transfer, along with the words “Neymar goes to Al Hilal. The big offer was delivered two days ago and all parties have signed the documents. Neymar will leave for Saudi Arabia this week. It’s a two-year deal and he will wear the number 10 shirt. PSG will receive a transfer fee of just under 100 million euros. The medical will be completed later today.”

David Onstein of the UK’s The Athletic writes: “PSG striker Neymar is undergoing a medical ahead of his move to Al-Hilal. He will sign a two-year contract with Al Hilal. He played throughout PSG’s pre-season but was not in the club’s plans for the 2023-24 season under new manager Luis Enrique.”

In addition, CBS Sports in the United States reported that “Neymar’s move is close to being finalized. He will join Al Hilal on a two-year deal. Neymar will earn a salary comparable to that of Cristiano Ronaldo at Al Nasr, and PSG will receive a transfer fee of 90 million euros ($131.5 million).”

Romano explained the final terms after the official. “Neymar receives a package of $300 million for two years. It can go up to $400 million based on a commercial deal with Edson,” he said. Multiple media outlets also reported a transfer fee of €90 million plus Edson. 토토사이트

Al-Hilal is a prestigious soccer club in Saudi Arabia. The club has won the Saudi Professional League 18 times, the King’s Cup 10 times, and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Champions League ACL four times. Al-Hilal joined the Saudi recruitment frenzy this summer, having previously failed to land Messi and Kylian Mbappe.

Since then, they’ve added the likes of Nabil Neves, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, and Malcom. Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic, Liverpool’s Luis Dias, Barcelona’s Zafinha, Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva, and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen have also been on the list.


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