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Al Hilal History- All about the Club

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Al Hilal history and all the ups and downs it has gone through over the past 66 years.

Al Hilal Saudi Football Club, commonly known as Al Hilal, is a professional football club based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It was founded on October 16, 1957 and is one of the most successful and popular football clubs in Asia.

The club has been successful, both domestically and internationally. They are the most decorated club in Asia and the most successful club in the AFC Champions League. Al Hilal’s consistency have earned them a passionate fan base and a prominent position in the footballing landscape of the region.

In this article, we’ll take you on an in-depth look at Al Hilal history.

The History of Al Hilal Football Club

Credit: Doha News
  • Full Name: Al Hilal SFC
  • Nicknames: Al-Za’eem (The Boss), The Blue Waves Royal Club The Century Club
  • Year of Formation: 1957
  • Place of Origin: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
  • Home Stadium: King Fahd International stadium
  • Owners: Saudi Public Investment Fund (75%), Al Hilal Non-Profit Foundation (25%)
  • Chairman: Fahad bin Nafel
  • Head Coach: Jorge Jesus
  • League: Saudi Professional League
  • Market Value: €163.40m

Al Hilal History: Foundation and Early Years

Al Hilal History
Credit: Reuters

In the first part of Al Hilal history article, we discuss how the club was founded and its early years.

Al Hilal was founded on 16 October 1957 Riyadh. In 1957 a serious division among the Youth Club leaders, prompted Mr. Abdul Rahman bin Saeed to resign from the presidency of the Club in that year. A number of prominent players also left with him and they established a new club.

The original name of the team was Olympic Club. It was changed to Al-Hilal on December 2, 1958, by Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the then King of Saudi Arabia. The other two proposed names were Al-Yamama and Al-Wahda. He changed the name after he attended a tournament that was contested between the Olympic Club, Al Nassr, Al Riyadh and El Kawkab clubs.

Al Hilal won its first trophy by lifting the King’s Cup trophy in 1961. Al Hilal were the inaugural winners when the Saudi Premier League came into existence in the 1976–77 season.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the guidance of foreign coaches like Mario Zagallo, Al Hilal experienced a golden era. The team clinched numerous league titles and achieved significant success in continental competitions. They won their first AFC Champions League title in 1991. Al Hilal’s continued its dominance in Saudi Arabian football in the coming decades. They have won a record number of Saudi Professional League titles, with eighteen championships to their name.

Royal Family support

Al-Hilal caught the attention of Saudi Arabia royal family and also enjoyed grassroots support in Riyadh. 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.

After Al Hilal established itself as one of the most successful clubs in Saudi Arabian football, a number of foreign players and managers joined the club in the 1970s, including Brazilian legends Mario Zagallo and Roberto Rivelino.

Al Hilal Champions League History

Credit: The AFC

Al Hilal have a successful history in the AFC Champions League, which is the top club competition for football teams in Asia. The Saudi club has won the AFC Champions League a total of four times. They are the most successful club in the competition.

Their first victory came in 1991 when they defeated Esteghlal from Iran in the final. They won their second title in 2000 by defeating Júbilo Iwata from Japan in the final. Al Hilal’s won its their title in 2019 when they defeated Urawa Red Diamonds from Japan in the final. The Saudi club also won this competition in 2021 when they defeated Pohang Steelers from South Korea. Al Hilal reached the final in 2022 but lost against Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al Hilal is one of the most successful clubs in the history of Asian football. They have been consistently competitive in the tournament, reaching the knockout stages and advancing deep into the competition on several occasions.

Keep reading, as there are still many things to talk about in Al Hilal history article, including its honors and stadiums.

Al Hilal Kit History

Al Hilal History
Credit: Arabian business

In this part of Al Hilal history article, we take a look at Al Hilal jersey history changes through the years.

This color combination of White and Blue have remained the primary choice for the club throughout its history.

In the beginning, Al Hilal’s kit consisted of a white shirt with blue shorts and socks. Later, Al Hilal introduced a new kit design featuring blue and white stripes on the shirt, resembling waves. The jersey has also undergone numerous changes throughout the Al Hilal history. Al Hilal often uses solid blue shirts with white trimmings, accompanied by white shorts and socks.

Al Hilal Logo History

Credit: Underconsideration.com

In this part of Al Hilal history article, we take a look at Al Hilal badge history over the years.

The original Al Hilal logo featured a circular design with a blue background. Inside the circle, there was a white crescent moon and a five-pointed white star, which are both significant symbols in Islamic culture. The club’s name, “Al Hilal,” was inscribed at the top of the circle in Arabic script.

The logo was redesigned in the 1960s to include a football in the center of the circle, symbolizing the club’s association with the sport. This variation of the logo also introduced a yellow outline around the circle.

Al Hilal updated its logo in 1997. The new design maintained the circular shape but simplified the overall composition. It featured a blue background with a white crescent moon and a five-pointed white star placed inside the crescent. The club’s name was displayed beneath the circle in Arabic calligraphy.

In 2022, Al-Nassr once again updated its logo to give it a more modern and stylized look. The new badge has a design in only blue and white, with the empty space between the three vertical blue stripes and their crescent moons creating a white ‘H’ for ‘Hilal’.

“The merging of the two letters in both languages in the logo is to symbolize the form of a grand and solid shield suitable for all sports, and bearing the values and principals of Al-Hilal,” the club said.

Al Hilal Mascot History

The club mascot is a shark.

Al Hilal Honors

Credit: The AFC

In this section of Al Hilal history article, we find out what titles they have won.

Al Hilal history goes many decades ago. Al Hilal has a rich history and is one of the most successful clubs in Asia. They are the most decorated club in Asia, winning 66 official trophies. Al Hilal hold the record for the most continental trophies in Asia, also a record 18 Professional League titles.

Al Hilal have won 66 official titles in its history. They have won a record 18 Professional League titles, a record 13 Crown Prince Cup titles, a record seven Saudi Federation Cup titles, ten King Cup titles, a record three Super Cup titles, and the Saudi Founder’s Cup.

Al Hilal also have won a record eight Asian Football Confederation trophies – the AFC Champions League in 1991, 2000, 2019 and 2021, the Asian Cup Winners Cup in 1997 and 2002, and the Asian Super Cup in 1997, 2000. They also reached the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup final but lost 5–3 to Real Madrid.

  • Professional League: 1976–77, 1978–79, 1984–85, 1985–86, 1987–88, 1989–90, 1995–96, 1997–98, 2001–02, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2019–20, 2020–21, 2021–22
  • King’s Cup: 1961, 1964, 1980, 1982, 1984, 1989, 2015, 2017, 2020, 2023
  • Crown Prince’s Cup: 1963–64, 1994–95, 1999–00, 2003, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2015–16
  • Super Cup: 2015, 2018, 2021
  • Federation Cup: 1986–87, 1989–90, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1999–2000, 2004–05, 2005–06
  • Asian Cup Winners’ Cup: 1997, 2002
  • Asian Super Cup: 1997, 2000
  • AFC Champions League: 1991, 2000, 2019, 2021 (Runners-Up: 1986,1987, 2014,2017, 2022)
  • FIFA Club World Cup Runners-Up: 2022

Al Hilal Stadiums

Al Hilal History
Credit: The AFC

In this section of Al Hilal history article, we discuss the stadiums the team has played at.

At the moment. Al Hilal plays their home games at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. It is one of the largest stadiums in the world and has a seating capacity of around 58,398 spectators. The stadium was built in 1987 and has been used for various sporting events including the FIFA Confederations Cup, AFC Asian Cup, and other high-profile games. The stadium hosted the Supercopa de España in 2022 and 2023. It also hosted the 2022 Supercoppa Italiana between Milan and Inter Milan.

Al Hilal also occasionally play at Prince Faisal bin Fahd Stadium, one of the oldest football grounds in Saudi Arabia. The stadium has a seating capacity of approximately 22,188 spectators

From 2017–18 season until the end of the 2019–2020 season, Al Hilal played at King Saud University’s stadium in Riyadh. In February 2022 it was announced that Qiddiya’s planned cliff-top 40,000+ seat stadium will eventually become the new venue for both Al Hilal and Al Nassr. The stadium will be ready for the 2027 Asian cup.

Al Hilal Managers History

Credit: TRT Haber

Through Al Hilal history, they had several prominent coaches who played an important part in shaping the club’s success. They had a wide range of managers, from experienced local coaches to internationally renowned coaches. Al Hilal has benefited from the experience of various football managers who have made their marks in the club’s past.

Current Manager

  • Jorge Jesus (2018-2019, present), Al Hilal is being led by Jorge Jesus in the position of head coach. Jesus, a Portuguese coach, first managed Al Hilal in the 2018-2019 season. He made a significant impact by guiding the team to win the Saudi Professional League title in and the AFC Champions League title in the same year. He had a record of sixteen wins and only one defeat in twenty matches, he was sacked by the chairman following contractual disagreements. Jorge Jesus who has been named twice in the 10 best club coaches in the world by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, returned to Al Hilal for the 2023–24 season.

Famous Managers

  • Mário Zagallo (1978-1979): Zagallo who won the 1970 World Cup with Brazil, managed Al Hilal in 1979 and won the Saudi Premier League.
  • Zlatco Dailc (2012-2013): Dalic who led Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, managed Al Hilal in 2013 and won the Saudi Crown Prince Cup.
  • Leonardo Jardim (2021-2022): Jardim joined Al Hilal in 2021. On 14 February 2022, in spite of winning the Saudi Super Cup and the AFC Champions League, he left by mutual consent.
  • Anghel Iordănescu (1999-2000): In the 1999–2000 season, Iordănescu become the head coach of Saudi club Al-Hilal, where he won the Saudi Crown Prince Cup and the Asian Club Championship.
  • Razvan Lucescu (2019-2021): Lucescu, a Romanian coach, took charge of Al Hilal and added more silverware to the club’s trophy cabinet, winning one Saudi Professional League and Saudi King Cup. He also brought the club to its third AFC Champions League-era title and first continental title in 17 years.
  • Ramón Díaz (2016-2017, 2022-2023): Diaz, an Argentine coach, joined Al-Hilal in 2016. He led Al-Hilal to Saudi Professional League in his first season. He left the club in 2018 but returned in 2022. Diaz led his team to the Champions League final in 2017 and 2022 but lost in both finals.
  • Eric Gerets (2009-2010): Gerets, a Belgian coach, had a successful spell with Al Hilal in the 2009-2020 season, winning the Saudi Professional League and Saudi Crown Prince Cup. He is one of six managers to have won top domestic league championships in at least four countries.

Al Hilal Rivalries History

Credit: latestly.com

In this part of Al Hilal history article, we discuss their rivalries with other clubs.

Al Hilal and Al-Ittihad are representatives of the two biggest cities in Saudi Arabia: Riyadh and Jeddah. They have a long-standing rivalry with each other. Al Hilal have won four Asian Club Championship, but Al-Ittihad has won this competition in 2004 and 2005. The match between these two teams is famous as the Saudi El Clasico. Al Hilal has won 62 times, Al-Ittihad won it 50 times, and the two sides have drawn 35 times. The biggest win was when Al Hilal defeated Al Ittihad 5–0 in the 2009–10 season.

Al Hilal also has a rivalry with Al-Nassr, known as the Riyadh Derby. Both teams are from Riyadh city. They have met 148 times, Al Hilal has won 59 times, lost 48 times, and 41 games have ended in a draw. The biggest win is for Al Hilal when they defeated Al Nassr 5–1 in the 2016-2017 season. The rivalry with Al Nassr is even more intense than the rivalry with Al Ittihad.

Al Hilal’s also have a historic rival outside of Saudi Arabia. Their matches in AFC Champions league against; Al Ain FC from UAE, Al Sadd SC of Qatar, Iranian teams like Persepolis F.C. and Esteghlal F.C., and from east of Asia like Urawa Red Diamonds and Pohang Steelers are very intense.

Al Hilal Transfers Involving Big-Name Players

Al Hilal History
Credit: The Sun

In the last part of Al Hilal history article, we look at the famous players they have signed in recent years.

On 23 June 2023, Al Hilal confirmed the signing of Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves. This transfer set a new record sale for Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers reported to be £47 million.

Al Hilal also announced that they have signed Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea for a fee of around £20 million in the summer of 2023.

On 12 July 2023, Lazio star Sergej Milinković-Savić joined Al Hilal on a three-year deal, for €40 million. Milinković-Savić is the highest-scoring midfielder in Lazio’s history.

On 23 July 2023, Russian side Zenit announced the transfer of Malcolm to Al Hilal. The transfer fee agreed was €60m. He became the top scorer of the 2022–23 Russian Premier League with 23 goals.

Al Hilal finished third in the Saudi Pro League in the 2022-23 season.

Sam Barton
Sam Barton
Sam Barton fell in love with football during the 98 World Cup and has been fascinated by it ever since. The tactical side of the game is what truly inspires him to think, read and write about football, making him the ideal football writer.


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