Rivaldo has spoken out in defence of Neymar and other footballers who have moved to Saudi Arabia, claiming ‘we followed the money too’.
The World Cup winning Brazilian had the ultimate journeyman career, playing in Greece, Uzbekistan and Angola in the twilight of his career.
Rivaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 1999 during his five-year stay at Barcelona, but after leaving the Camp Nou in 2002, he went on to play for nine clubs in 12 years – including Uzbek side Bunyodkor in 2008.
Speaking to Betfair, Rivaldo said: “Neymar ended up signing with Al-Hilal this week thus closing his chapter at PSG and I see this change as something normal in football, because like anybody in the world, players are attracted to better financial conditions.
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“Yes, the country is investing heavily in the future of the league, which could be exciting, but in the end, it is the money that speaks loudest, and I have no problem recognizing that because I did the same when I went to Uzbekistan.
“The current trend is for many big players to move from Europe to Saudi Arabia where money knows no limits, but we need to wait to understand if this is going to be a sustainable league for many years to come.
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“We know the pace of play in Saudi Arabia is much lower than in Europe, however, his talent is something natural that he will continue to have within himself, so for sure he will remain a key piece to the Brazilian National Team for a few more years.
“I remember when I moved to Olympiacos in Greece, even at a time when they won the Euro 2004 so the league was strong, I was left out of the National Team.
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"But I do not believe that this will happen with Neymar, who is a hero of Brazilian football and practically untouchable in his status.”
- Saudi Pro League
- World Cup
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