Lionel Messi is considering a move to Saudi Arabia that would see him join Al-Hilal, a club based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires this summer, according to ESPN Senior Writer Mark Ogden.
The soccer club is the city rival of Al-Nassr, the current club of former Real Madrid and Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Having opened talks with Messi and his advisers late last year, senior figures in the bid to take him to the Middle Eastern nation had initially believed they had no more than an outside chance of persuading the former Barcelona forward to follow Ronaldo to Riyadh,” wrote Ogden. “However, a source told ESPN there is now an increasing likelihood of Messi, 35, who fronts the Visit Saudi tourism campaign, moving to the Saudi Pro League, putting the probability as high as ’50-50′ following talks with the player’s camp in Saudi Arabia last month.
“A separate source told ESPN that Messi received an offer from Saudi Arabia last week.”
According to soccer journalist Fabrizio Romano, Messi was reportedly offered over 400 million euros per year to play for Al-Hilal.
“Understand Al Hilal sent an official bid to Leo Messi: salary worth more than €400m/year,” Romano wrote in a Tuesday tweet.
Ronaldo signed a 2.5-year contract worth $75 million per season in late 2022.
“I can say now that many opportunities in Europe, many clubs in Brazil, in Australia, US and even in Portugal many clubs tried to sign me,” Ronaldo said, via Romano. “I gave my word to this club; only to Al Nassr.”
Lionel Messi, a long-time member of FC Barcelona with multiple appearances for the Argentinian National Team, scored 13 goals and earned 13 assists in 24 starts during his second year with PSG. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner garnered four goals and four assists during PSG’s Champions League run, having two shots blocked from close range during a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Round of 16, according to ESPN.