Ruben Neves, the Wolves captain, joins Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia for a club-record £47 million.
For a club-record £47 million, Wolves traded captain Ruben Neves to Al-Hilal of Saudi Arabia.
The 26-year-old midfielder from Portugal leaves Molineux after six seasons with a year left on his contract.
Neves is the most well-known athlete to recently switch from a European club to Saudi Arabia’s Pro League.
Karim Benzema departed Real Madrid for Al-Ittihad earlier this month, joining Cristiano Ronaldo, who had already joined with Al-Nassr in January.
This week, midfielder N’Golo Kante reached an agreement to leave Chelsea and join teammate Karim Benzema at Al-Ittihad.
While Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva of Manchester City is wanted by Al-Hilal, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is close to joining Saudi Pro-League outfit Al Ahli.
Why does the Saudi Pro League sign talents from the Premier League?
Neves claimed at the conclusion of the previous campaign that he was ambitious amid interest from Barcelona, but the La Liga champions were unable to make an acceptable offer, leading Neves to choose Saudi Arabia.
Al-Hilal’s payment exceeds the £41 million Wolves received from Diogo Jota when he transferred to Liverpool in 2020.
Additionally, it dwarfs the reported 18 million euro (£15.4 million) transfer fee that sent Matheus Pereira from West Brom to Al-Hilal in 2021 as the largest transfer fee paid by a Saudi Pro League team.
In an open letter to Wolves fans, Neves called his time at Molineux “an unbelievable journey” after helping Wolves secure promotion from the Championship in 2017–18 and subsequently establish themselves in the Premier League.
The way we collaborated, the way we stood up for the club, what we accomplished, and all the times we spent together were wonderful, he continued.
“Our changing room has a team spirit like I’ve never seen before; there are no words to express it. I felt so proud when I was named captain for the last year.
“My children were very content growing up in Wolverhampton. My lovely wife and I will always remember our time spent together as a family here.
Neves joined the West Midlands club in 2017 from Porto and played 253 times while contributing 30 goals.
Neves was cited by Wolves sporting director Matt Hobbs as one of the club’s all-time best players.
“Ruben is the embodiment of everything you look for when trying to bring players into a football club; a leader, a humble man, and an extremely talented footballer who took Wolves to a different level,” he claimed.
“He will be remembered as one of our best players ever because he played during a fantastic time for this club. We appreciate everything he has done for Wolves and send our best wishes to him and his family for the future.