The attacker was still only 25 when he made a decision that set him up for life – but effectively ended his hopes of ever playing for Brazil again
Cristiano Ronaldo always insisted that other stars would follow him to Saudi Arabia – and he’s been proven right, with Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante having just joined Al-Ittihad. The Saudi Pro League’s most interesting acquisition to date, though, is that of Ruben Neves.
Unlike Ronaldo, Benzema and Kante, Neves is not a serial winner – but nor is he injury-riddled or well past his prime. On the contrary, he is young, healthy and still has his best years ahead of him.
So, at a time when the Pro League is being compared to the Chinese Super League because of the way in which it has shaken up the world of football with one money-spinning transfer after another, Neves is essentially playing the role of Oscar.
In reality, though, the Brazilian’s move from Chelsea to Shanghai SIPG in January 2017 was far more surprising. Indeed, Oscar’s decision to turn his back on the European game at the age of 25 didn’t just shock people, it upset them.