Neymar in good spirits during Al Hilal training amid uncertainty over availability

Brazilian star reported to be on his way towards regaining fitness

Al Hilal's Neymar and Kalidou Koulibaly during training. Reuters
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Al Hilal's new signing Neymar has started training following his grand unveiling in Riyadh over the weekend.

The Brazilian star was presented to nearly 60,000 fans at the King Fahd International Stadium during the match against Al Fayha. Following his unveiling, Neymar said he wanted to enjoy football with Hilal fans.

"I’m proud to be a Hilali,” Neymar said during the ceremony on Saturday. "Let's enjoy our football, have fun this season and win championships together."

However, that might have to wait after it was revealed that Neymar has not yet regained full fitness. Manager Jorge Jesus said the 31-year-old former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain forward might be available only by the middle of next month.

"Neymar is an innovative and creative player, he will help us to improve, but he has a slight injury now and I don’t know when he will return. Maybe he will be ready in mid-September,” Jesus was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Neymar hasn't played any club football since February and has not featured for Brazil since last year's World Cup as he recovers from an ankle injury.

However, he was still included in Brazil's squad for two World Cup qualifiers next month. Jesus said he could not understand why Neymar was selected for national duty.

"I don't know when exactly he will return and be ready to play and train normally. He shouldn't be available to the Brazilian national team and shouldn't travel to join them. He is in rehab now," the manager was quoted as saying by Goal.

Amid the uncertainty over his fitness, Neymar began training at the club, mingling with new recruits like Malcom.

Neymar became the Saudi Pro League’s record signing, joining Al Hilal in a blockbuster move from Paris Saint-Germain for a reported fee of €90 million.

Updated: August 24, 2023, 8:08 AM