Lionel Messi is being eyed up by Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal in a deal worth £245 million ($300 million) per year, according to reports.
And the Saudi Arabian Saudi Arabian club’s interest in Messi may not all be smoke and mirrors after reports emerged on Thursday suggesting that the Qatar World Cup winner’s father was in the country.
It was reported that Al-Hilal want to bring Messi to the Middle East following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. Local media have reported that the Argentine’s dad, Jorge, was spotted in the country’s capital of Riyadh, although outlet The New Arab could not verify this.
Ronaldo arrived in the Middle East earlier this month after agreeing a £173 million ($212 million)-a-year transfer to Al Nassr. It makes him the highest-paid sports star in the world by some margin as he prepares to finish his career with the club.
But according to Mundo Deportivo, Messi could be given the opportunity to dwarf Ronaldo’s wage packet in the coming months. The Argentine, 35, is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain in the summer. Reports have claimed he has a “verbal agreement” with the Ligue 1 champions to extend his stay in the French capital.
But he is now being linked with a lucrative move to Al Hilal. The Saudi side are the bitter rivals of Ronaldo’s Al Nassr and the two teams make up the “Riyadh derby” each year.
The deal would see Messi earn around £70 million ($85.5 million) more than Ronaldo each year. Al Hilal currently sit third in the Saudi Pro League, three points behind table toppers Al Nassr.
Regardless, the financial power in the region has already been confirmed, after Al Nassr completed the signing of Ronaldo in a record-breaking deal worth £173 million a year. However, Al Hilal – Al Nassr’s rivals – are said to have offered a deal worth even more to Messi.
Messi also has Saudi links having signed a £25 million ($30 million) deal to promote tourism in the country.
However, despite the huge money on offer in the Middle East, remaining at PSG is the most likely outcome for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner. His World Cup triumph proved he is still one of the best players in the world.
And he then marked his return to the French giants with a goal on Wednesday night as Christophe Galtier’s side claimed a 2-0 win over Angers. Messi has already racked up 13 goals and 14 assists in 20 games for PSG this season.
Messi’s contract at current club Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season. But a verbal agreement is said to have been reached between the two parties over an extension. Messi enjoyed himself the last time he was in the Middle East, as he won the World Cup in neighbouring Qatar.
And following a break to celebrate his win, Messi scored with a trademark finish on his return to PSG.
In the meantime, Messi has also earned a spot in Fifa’s “The Best” award as one of 14 nominees, though Ronaldo has been snubbed for this.
- The Sun report