Morocco World Cup hero Bono joins Neymar at Al Hilal after completing move from Sevilla

Goalkeeper pens three-year contract with Riyadh giants and becomes sixth major signing of the summer

Moroccan World Cup hero Bono arrives in Saudi Arabia after completing his move to Al Hilal from Sevilla. Photo: @Alhilal_FC / Twitter
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Goalkeeper Yassine Bounou, one of the heroes of Morocco's historic World Cup run in Qatar, has completed a move to Al Hilal from Sevilla, days after Neymar joined the Saudi Pro League giants.

The 32-year-old stopper, more commonly known as 'Bono', has cost Hilal a reported €21 million and has signed a three-year contract.

"The board of directors of Al-Hilal Club Company has signed 'Yassine Bono', goalkeeper of Morocco national team and Spain's Sevilla," Al Hilal posted on social media. "Bono's contract lasts for three seasons, until 2026. The signing ceremony was taking place at Four Seasons George V hotel in Paris, France.

"The board of directors has offered sincere gratitude and appreciation to the golden member HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal for funding this deal."

Bounou's arrival continues a stunning summer transfer window for Hilal, whose transfer business would be the envy of many top European clubs. Earlier this week, the Riyadh club shattered their own Saudi Pro League (SPL) transfer record to sign Brazilian superstar Neymar for a reported €90m.

Hilal had earlier twice broken the SPL transfer record, first with the signing of Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves from Wolves and again when they recruited Brazilian winger Malcom from Zenit St Petersburg. They have also signed Serbian midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio and Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea.

Bounou moves to Hilal after a successful spell with Sevilla, where he made 142 appearances, kept 58 clean sheets and even scored a goal. He twice won the Uefa Europa League, including last season when he made two penalty shoot-out saves in the final against Roma.

Bounou was also named as the third-best goalkeeper in the world at The Best Fifa Football Awards, recognition in no small part due to his superb performances for Morocco at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, where he played a key role in the Atlas Lions becoming the first African team to reach a World Cup semi-final.

Bounou started his career at Wydad Casablanca, where he came through the youth system, before joining Atletico Madrid in 2012. He was part of their La Liga title triumph in 2014 but did not make a league appearance.

After a two-year loan spell at Zaragoza between 2014 and 2016, he joined Girona on a permanent deal and spent four years at the club, the last of which was on loan at Sevilla.

Bounou joined Sevilla permanently ahead of the 2020/21 season and soon established himself as their first-choice goalkeeper. He became the first player in the club's history to win the Zamora Trophy, which is awarded to the goalkeeper who concedes the fewest goals per match in La Liga, with a minimum of 28 appearances.

"Sevilla FC thanks Bono for his hard work and effort during his four-year spell, and wishes him the very best of luck in the future," Sevilla wrote in a statement.

Hilal, the most decorated club in Asian football with 66 major trophies, are next in Saudi Pro League action on Saturday when they play their first home game of the season against Al Feiha. Bono is expected to be presented to the crowd at the King Fahd International Stadium, as is Neymar.

Hilal won their opening game of the season 3-1 at Abha, with new signing Malcom scoring a hat-trick.

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Updated: August 18, 2023, 6:52 AM