Saudi soccer club Al Hilal aims for world record wins streak after $380M transfer spend on players

Mon, Mar 11, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Saudi soccer club Al Hilal aims for world record wins streak after $380M transfer spend on players

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi Arabian soccer club Al Hilal will target a 28th straight win in competitive games on Tuesday that could set a world record for a top-tier team.

Fueled by Serbia forward Aleksandar Mitrovic's goals during Neymar's long-term injury, Al Hilal aims for the record in a second-leg game in the Asian Champions League quarterfinals against domestic rival Al Ittihad.

The recognized wins record of 27 was set by The New Saints in the 2016-17 season. The Welsh team took the mark from the great Ajax side inspired by Johan Cruyff in 1971-72.

Al Hilal's dominating season follows the club spending about 350 million euros ($380 million) on player transfers after being effectively nationalized by the Saudi sovereign wealth operation, the Public Investment Fund. It is controlled by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The streak includes 16 games in the Saudi league, three in the domestic cup and eight in the Asian Champions League.

"It's a world record but it's not a title," coach Jorge Jesus said. "Titles are the league, the cup and the Asian Champions League."

The last time the team did not win was on Sept. 21 in a 1-1 draw against league rival Damac. Four weeks later, Neymar suffered a serious knee injury while playing for Brazil.

On Tuesday, the Riyadh club takes a 2-0 lead to Jeddah to face Al Ittihad. The winner advances to the semifinals against Al Nassr and Cristiano Ronaldo or Al Ain of the United Arab Emirates.

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