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Al Hilal( Al Hilal Saudi Football Club) Saudi Football Club or simply Al Hilal (Arabic: نادي الهلال السعودي القدم‎ is a Saudi professional multi-sports club based in Riyadh. The football team competes in the Saudi Professional League.

Founded on 15 October 1957, Al Hilal are one of four teams to have participated in all seasons of the Saudi Professional League since its establishment in 1976.

Overall, Al Hilal have won 61 official titles on the national and international stage, and 99 counting friendly trophies. In domestic competitions, they have won a record 16 Professional League titles, a record 13 Crown Prince Cup titles, a record seven Saudi Federation Cup titles, nine King Cup titles, a record two Super Cup titles, and also the Saudi Founder's Cup.

Internationally, Al Hilal has a record seven Asian Football Confederation trophies – the AFC Champions League in 1991, 2000 and 2019, the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1997 and 2002, and the Asian Super Cup in 1997, 2000. In September 2009, Al Hilal was awarded Best Asian Club of the 20th Century by the IFFHS.[2]

History[edit]

Roberto Rivelino (left) and Najeeb Al Imam (right) playing for Al Hilal in 1979 meo

Al Hilal Club was originally known as the Olympic Club during its founding by Abdul Rahman bin Saad bin Saeed on 15 October 1957 in Riyadh. The club's name lasted for only one year before it was changed to its current name on 3 December 1958 by King Saud. He changed the name after he attended a tournament that was contested between the Olympic Club, Al Nassr, Al Riyadh and El Kawkab clubs. As soon as the club's establishment, Al Hilal enjoyed not only grassroots support but also royal attention.[3]

After spending their formative years building a squad, the club made their first mark by lifting the King's Cup trophy in 1961. That began a period in which the club won 50 official competitions. Al Hilal recaptured the King's Cup in 1964, with a penalty shootout victory over two-time Asian champions Al-Ittihad.

Al-Mayouf
Jang
Al Bulaihi
Al-Breik
Yasser
Otayf
Al-Faraj (C)
Carrillo
Salem
Gomis
Giovinco
2019 AFC Champions League Final starting lineup

The club were the inaugural winners when the Saudi Premier League came into existence in the 1976–77 season. Al Hilal won the title another 14 times and finished runners-up on 12 occasions in the space of 32 years. Al Hilal also have nine King's Cup, twelve Crown Prince Cup and eight Saudi Federation Cup titles.[4]

With the success, a number of players and coaches from outside Saudi Arabia joined the club in the 1970s, including Brazilian legends Mario Zagallo and Roberto Rivelino.

In 1991, they won the first Asian title, Asian Club Championship, beating Iranian club Esteghlal F.C. in penalties in the final. They won it again in 1999–2000, when they scored an equaliser in the 89th minute and won the match against Júbilo Iwata in the extra-time. Lastly, they won again in 2019. In the final, they played against the Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds, to whom they lost in the final 2 years before. They successfully took a revenge and won 3–0 in two legs.

Al Hilal were also the runners-up for four times. They were second after the round-robin in the final round in 1986. They reached the final in 1987, but Yomiuri FC were crown the champion automatically as Al-Hilal were unable to field a team for the final due to nine of the starting players being chosen for the Saudi team's preparation camp that clashed with the date fixed for the first leg. Al Hilal reached the final of AFC Champions League in 2014, 14 years after their last appearance in the final. This time they faced Western Sydney Wanderers. The Australian club won 1–0 on aggregate.[5] Al Hilal reached the final again in 2017 but they lost to the Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds.

Six titles in a season 2000[6][circular reference]

In 1997 they captured the Asian Cup Winners Cup and the Asian Super Cup of that year, which they lifted again in 2002.

Stadiums[edit]

Al Hilal currently plays their home games at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, stadium that was constructed in 1987 with a capacity of 67,000 supporters. The club's reserve team stadium, Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, was used in 2011–12 when King Fahd Stadium was under renovation. When prince Abdulrahman bin Musa'ad became the President of the club in 2008, there was some serious idea of making Al-Hilal home avenue but it was shortly declined.

Rivalries[edit]

Al Hilal has a long-standing rivalry with Al-Ittihad. From the start of national competition the clubs were seen as representatives of two rival cities: Riyadh and Jeddah. Matches between the two are often called 'El Clasico's. While Al Hilal have won three Asian Club Championship in years 1991, 1999–2000 and 2019, Al Ittihad has won AFC Champions League two times in a row, in 2004 and 2005. Al Hilal won the clasico 62 times, while Al-Ittihad has won it 50 times and two sides have drawn 35 times. The biggest win was when Al Hilal defeated Al-Ittihad 5–0 in 2009–2010.[7]

Another rivalry is with their neighbors Al-Nassr, which is called Riyadh's Derby. They have met 148 times, Al Hilal has won 59 times, and lost 48 times, while 41 games have ended in a draw.[8] The biggest win is for Al Hilal when they defeated Al-Nassr 5–1 in 2016–17. The rivalry with Al-Nasser is violent between them more than the rivalry with Al-Ittihad. As an example, when Al Hilal reached the 2014 AFC Champions League Final, in 2nd leg Al-Nassr fans awaited Western Sydney Wanderers arrival at the airport to spur them on against Al Hilal and tried to sabotage Al Hilal's ticket plan.[9]

Finance and sponsorship[edit]

Sponsorship[edit]

Mobily was the main sponsor of Al Hilal, and as part of the sponsorship deal, their logo was displayed on the front of the club's shirts and a plethora of other merchandise. The Mobily deal was announced by the club's previous President Abdulrahman bin Musa'ad on 14 October 2008, and is worth a Saudi record SAR 517 million, to be paid over six years (SAR 69.1 million per year).

Also, the previous president Prince Abdulrahman bin Musa'ad made a contract with Omar Almady, CEO of Volkswagen Group in Saudi Arabia. the contract period is 6 years and was signed on 18 September 2014.[citation needed]

Television match broadcasting rights[edit]

Al Hilal receives SR 4.5 million per year (US$1.2 million/year) from the Saudi Arabia Football Federation as the federation sell the complete matches' right in one package and all the clubs in the Saudi Professional League share the revenue equally. The income may increase dramatically in near future as clubs will have the rights to sell their own matches' broadcasting rights.

Other income sources[edit]

The club's president and other board members pay any extra money required to run the club as the total expenses of the club in recent seasons surpassed SR 140 million (US$38 million). This increase in expenses is due to the high level foreign and national players the club signed with such as Andre Carrillo, Bafétimbi Gomis, Gustavo Cuellar, Sebastian Giovinco and others.

Charity and philanthropy[edit]

Special seats have been allocated for the disabled to watch the training. Twenty-five percent of the income of tickets sold goes to charities. Players and board members arrange and attend social activities for charities during Eid and other holidays.

Club facilities[edit]

In 2009, the club opened a new camp in Riyadh. It contains 25 rooms, meeting rooms, smart room for lectures, library, eating room, living rooms, a big salon and a medical clinic. It also has entertainment corners for video games, table tennis, billiards, table football and many others. There are two training fields for the senior team.

Players[edit]

As of 1 April 2021

Out on loan[edit]