Lee Kang-in says goodbye to Neymar. Neymar swallowed his disappointment. Brazil also watched the relationship between their star and Lee with interest.

Neymar has left Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).스포츠토토 Al Hilal announced the news of Neymar’s signing through the club’s official channel on Nov. 16 (KST). The deal is for two years, and Neymar will wear the number 10 shirt in Saudi Arabia.

After Neymar’s move was finalized, Lee took to social media to say goodbye. He posted a photo with Neymar and wrote, “We had a short time together, but it was a very special time. Thank you so much.” In response, Neymar shared Lee’s post and wrote, “It was a short time, but you are already in my heart. See you later.”

Brazilian outlet O Globo reported, “Neymar said goodbye to many players when he left PSG, and one of the most prominent was Lee Kang-in, who has been close to Neymar in recent years. Lee joined PSG in early July and has been a frequent feature on Neymar’s social media since then.”

Neymar left Brazil to join Barcelona in 2013. He quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with, forming the “MSN” line with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to lead Barcelona’s attack. They went on to win numerous trophies. In his four years at Barcelona, Neymar won two Spanish La Liga titles, one UEFA Champions League title, and three Copa del Rey titles.

He then moved on to a new challenge. In the 2017-18 season, PSG paid €220 million ($324.4 billion) to sign Neymar. It was the highest transfer fee in the history of the world. The signing of Neymar was to fulfill the club’s ambitious project of winning the UCL. Kylian Mbappe followed a short time later for similar reasons.

And it paid off. In the 2019-20 season, Neymar, Mbappe, and others performed well and PSG reached the UCL final for the first time in their history. Neymar started and played full-time in the final, and although they lost the title to Bayern Munich, they showed promise. Neymar has since re-signed with PSG until the summer of 2025, showing his commitment to the club’s goals.

Neymar scored 13 goals and provided 11 assists in 20 Ligue 1 appearances last season. He was averaging more than one attacking point per game, but it was unfortunate that he suffered an injury in late February that ruled him out for the season.

However, it wasn’t his performance that was the problem. At the beginning of the season, he was plagued by rumors of a feud with Mbappe. Then, just before the end of the season, PSG fans blamed Neymar for the incident. It was rumored that Messi’s trip to Saudi Arabia was not coordinated with the club.

Messi quickly apologized, but the fans’ anger was not diminished. After a string of disappointing European performances, including a UCL round of 16 exit, fans blamed both Messi and Neymar. Neymar’s fans shocked the world by showing up at his doorstep and shouting at him to leave the team.

Photo: Sports Illustrated

In response, it was claimed that Neymar had lost patience with the behavior of PSG fans. However, Neymar himself seemed to put an end to the rumors when he confirmed his intention to stay at PSG. In late June, he said, “I hope to play for PSG in the coming season. I have a contract with PSG. Even if there is no love between PSG fans and players, I will stay.”

PSG have since made a managerial change ahead of next season. Christophe Galtier left and Luis Enrique took over. Enrique is no stranger to winning UCL titles, which PSG hopes to do. He won the triple in 2014-15, finishing at the top of La Liga, the UCL, and the Copa del Rey. Neymar was also playing at the time.

Neymar spent the preseason with his old coach Enrique and a new squad. He didn’t play much due to the injury he suffered at the end of last season, but he was seen having fun training with the players. In particular, his chemistry with Lee Kang-in stood out.

The two exchanged jerseys after the round of 16 match at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At the time, they had only played head-to-head, but their relationship grew rapidly after joining PSG. They were next to each other in a group photo taken in front of the plane before their tour of Japan, and were seen getting off the plane together. Lee and Neymar were also seen fooling around on the training ground.

Photo: PSG

Photo: PSG

Photo: PSG

After missing all three games in Japan due to injury, Neymar started the match against Jeonbuk Hyundai and played the entirety of the match, scoring multiple goals. His first goal, a sensational individual effort, was a reminder of why Neymar is a world-class player. Until the Jeonbuk game, Neymar looked like he was in PSG’s plans all season.

Amidst all this, transfer rumors have surfaced. “Neymar told PSG last weekend that he wanted to leave the club this summer,” according to French publication L’Equipe. Neymar’s father gave an interview in which he denied this, but things started to change quickly.

“Neymar has made it clear that he wants to leave the club this summer. He has three years left on his contract,” said Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol. Neymar wants to return to Barcelona, but the club’s financial problems make that difficult.”

He went on to share his views on PSG’s club policy. “Now PSG wants to end the ‘galactico’ culture that started with Neymar, Mbappe, etc. The club’s future plans will not be centered around those players. Rather, players like Dembele and Gonzalo Higuain will be the mainstay. PSG wants players who are committed to the team. Neymar is PSG’s past. He is not the future.”

Neymar’s contract runs through the summer of 2025. It included an option for a one-year extension, so he could have played for PSG for up to three more years, but in the end, their time together came to an end. Initially, there were rumors of a return to Barcelona.

However, the final destination was Al Hilal. Al Hilal was the team that tried to sign Lionel Messi this summer. They tried to convince him with an astronomical salary, but he chose the United States over Saudi Arabia. He is currently playing for Inter Miami in the American Major League Soccer (MLS).

Al-Hilal hasn’t stopped there, bringing in big-name players from Europe such as Neymar, Kalidou Koulibaly, Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, and Malcom. Recently, the club also tried to sign Neymar’s teammate Mbappe, but Mbappe didn’t want to move to Saudi Arabia, but the world’s biggest star is finally on the verge of joining them.

Photo by Al Hilal

Photo: Al Hilal

Transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted on March 13, “The deal between Al Hilal and Neymar is close to completion. The final documents will be ready. Al Hilal hopes to finalize the deal in the next 24 hours.” As far as we know, Neymar’s medical will take place in Paris.

A day later, Romano said, “Neymar is moving to Al-Hilal. He will fly to 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 less than 100 million euros. The medical will be completed today,” the club added, adding the phrase “HERE WE GO,” which they use when a transfer is imminent.

Photo by Al Hilal

Photo by Al Hilal

France’s Foot Mercato also reported, “Neymar’s transfer to Al-Hilal is finalized. According to our sources, he will head to Saudi Arabia. Last weekend, Al Hilal were trying to reach an agreement with Neymar and PSG, but for now, everything is over.”

“PSG and Al Hilal have reached an agreement and the transfer fee will be just under €100 million,” the outlet continued. Neymar will undergo a medical in the next few hours and will join the team later this week. Neymar’s contract will be for two years and he will receive an annual salary of €100 million.”

Mbappe, on the other hand, has been confirmed to stay. Mbappe was left off the Asian tour roster during preseason and didn’t even join the first team training until recently. If anything, the tone of the preseason seemed to indicate that Mbappe would leave and Neymar would stay, but things have changed quickly.

Mbappe, in particular, seems to have decided to play for PSG again this season after positive talks with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and coach Enrique. “The club has had very constructive and positive talks with Mbappe. Mbappe has returned to first-team training,” the club announced.

In addition, French journalist Santi Auna of Foot Mercato reported on the 13th that “Mbappe and PSG have opened the door to a contract extension,” and continued, “PSG’s plan is to propose a loan deal until the summer of 2025 with a guaranteed sale clause at the end of next summer’s contract. Both parties are positive about this.”

There is even speculation that he could sign a new contract. According to the BBC, “Mbappe could sign a one-year extension. In that case, PSG would receive a transfer fee next summer and be able to sell him to other clubs, including Real Madrid.”

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