Lionel Messi, widely considered one of the greatest football players of all time, could be on the verge of leaving Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and moving to Saudi Arabia. Reports suggest that he has been offered a staggering £194m-a-season deal by Al-Hilal, one of Saudi Arabia’s top clubs, as they look to take advantage of the uncertainty surrounding his future. Messi’s PSG contract is set to expire in the summer, and negotiations for an extension have stalled since the turn of the year. With his father and agent, Jorge, spotted in Riyadh recently, there’s speculation that he could be negotiating a move for his son.
The Potential Deal and Its Implications
Al-Hilal’s offer to Messi, if true, would be a game-changing deal. It would make him the highest-paid football player in the world, surpassing his previous record at PSG. The move would also bring the two biggest stars in world football, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, to the same league, renewing their rivalry. Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr in December 2022 on a £175m-a-year deal, making him the biggest star in the division by a distance. However, that status would be challenged should Messi move to Saudi Arabia.
The potential deal has significant implications for Saudi Arabia’s football landscape. It would be a major coup for the country, leaving them with two of the biggest stars in world football playing in their league. The Saudi government is reportedly willing to get involved to increase the salary limit in the Pro League so that Messi can play in it. This move would help boost the country’s reputation and profile in the global sports community.
Messi’s Uncertain Future at PSG
Messi’s future at PSG has been uncertain since the turn of the year. Negotiations for a contract extension have stalled, and it’s no longer guaranteed that he’ll remain in the French capital beyond this season. The French champions have also suffered a significant dip in form in 2023, which may have caused Messi to have doubts about signing a new deal. PSG is already out of the Champions League, which could make it less appealing for Messi to stay.
The Messi-Ronaldo Rivalry
Messi and Ronaldo are widely recognized as the finest players of their generation, having won the Ballon d’Or 12 times between them. Their rivalry is one of the most significant in football history, and it could be renewed if Messi moves to Saudi Arabia. The two faced each other once again in a friendly in January when PSG played a Saudi All-Star team. If Messi moves to Saudi Arabia, they could go head-to-head on a regular basis if Al-Hilal convinces Messi to agree to their proposal.