Midfielder Ruben Neves has openly admitted that money played a role in his decision to leave English football and join Al-Hilal in the Saudi Pro League.
Cristiano Ronaldo started this trend at the beginning of the calendar year when, following his release from Manchester United, he joined Al-Nassri.
The likes of Karim Benzema, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Neymar, Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte have joined the Ballon d’Or five times in the Middle East, with Neves opting to follow suit.
“Of course one of the things is money. Of course, you can’t hide that. But when we see the project and I know that many people think that we say this just to say it, but it is not true. When they present the project to us, it is a very big project. I think people have no idea how the country is improving and how football is improving here. How could football be in a few years? In one year, we did it in the Pro League of Saudi Arabia. I believe that two more years, three more years, it will be a fantastic league”.
Neves has already been linked with a return to England, with Newcastle interested in the Portuguese’s services.