After six seasons at Molineux, Ruben Neves’ time with Wolves has come to an end, as he joins Saudi Pro League’s Al-Hilal on a permanent deal for a club record transfer fee.
The midfielder, signed from Porto in the summer of 2017, became a vital figure in the Wolves side which went from the Championship to Europa League in two seasons, and has remained a Premier League club since.
Having settled instantly into English football aged 20, Neves’ stunning goals, including the most special of strikes against Derby County, and midfield control saw him named the player of the season by both his supporters and teammates as Wolves stormed to the Championship title.
The Old Gold’s first goal scorer back in the top flight on his Premier League debut against Everton, the Portuguese then formed a strong partnership with compatriot Joao Moutinho, inspiring the club to the FA Cup semi-final and a seventh place finish in the Premier League.
A return to European football for club and midfielder followed, and with the same style of Neves’ performances, Wolves excelled, progressing to the last eight, and a stunning volley against Espanyol along the way was one of many magical moments from the number eight.
Neves, who’d by this point surpassed 100 games in old gold, continued to maintain the highest of standards during lockdown football, and despite Nuno’s departure, was equally important to his successor Bruno Lage, scoring an injury time winner at Villa Park to provide another memorable afternoon for the collection.
Following Conor Coady’s exit on loan last summer, Neves took the armband permanently and revelled in the responsibility, once again proving the star performer under three different managers to ensure Wolves remained in the Premier League.
Now, with 253 appearances and 30 Wolves goals to his name, the iconic midfielder draws the curtain on his time at Molineux in search of a new challenge in the Middle East.
Sporting director Matt Hobbs said: “Everyone at Wolves would like to thank Ruben for all he has done for the club throughout his six years here. Not only for his effort and commitment as a player, but also as a person off the pitch.
“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 was part of a great era for this club and will go down as one of our best ever players. We are grateful for everything he has done for Wolves and wish him and his family the very best for the future.”