A person who spoke to AFP on Tuesday said that Lionel Messi, the famous football player from Argentina, will be playing in Saudi Arabia next season. This is part of a big deal, and it’s possible that he’ll be playing alongside his rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Saudi Arabia is spending a lot of money on sports, and this is one way they’re doing it.
A done deal?
“Messi is a done deal. He will play in Saudi Arabia next season,” said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Someone who is helping with the talks said that Lionel Messi, who just won the World Cup in Qatar and is 35 years old, will be signing a really big contract with a team. We don’t know which team yet.
“The contract is exceptional. It’s huge. We are just finalizing some small details,” The source, who does not have permission to talk to the media, also mentioned this.
When asked about the news, Lionel Messi’s current club, Paris Saint-Germain, did not confirm anything. They only stated that he is still under contract with them until June 30th.
Another source from PSG mentioned, “If the club had wanted to renew his contract, it would have been done earlier.”
Recently, Lionel Messi was suspended by Paris Saint-Germain, a football club owned by Qatar, due to his unsanctioned travel to Saudi Arabia. Messi visited Saudi Arabia during the middle of the football season, which was not approved by his team. This was particularly surprising because he has been acting as a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia. As a result of this incident, PSG took disciplinary action against Messi.
Saudi Arabia is trying to change and become more modern. Only a few years ago, they started allowing non-Muslim tourists to visit and women to drive. They want to make their country less conservative and not rely solely on selling oil.
As part of this effort, they have been investing a lot of money in sports, such as bringing in Cristiano Ronaldo to play for a Saudi team, hosting Formula One races in Jeddah, and starting a new golf tour. Some people criticize this as a way for Saudi Arabia to hide their human rights issues by showing the world how great they are at sports.
Which club will Messi be joining?
Lionel Messi is expected to join a Saudi Arabian team, just like his rival Cristiano Ronaldo did earlier this year when he signed with Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League for a large sum of money.
It has been widely speculated that Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football players of all time, maybe joining the Saudi Arabian football club Al Hilal. Although no official announcement has been made yet, various reports suggest that Al Hilal has shown interest in the Argentine superstar.
It remains to be seen whether the club will be able to strike a deal with Messi, who is still under contract with Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season. Nevertheless, if Messi does end up joining Al Hilal, it would be a major coup for the Saudi Arabian club, and a dream come true for their fans.
According to Forbes, Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the highest-paid athlete in the world. He signed a contract with Al Nassr, a team in the Saudi Pro League, that will last until June 2025. It’s reported that the contract is worth more than 400 million euros, which is equivalent to $439 million in USD. This means that Ronaldo will be making a huge amount of money over the next few years.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, is funding several major sports deals. This includes the signings of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabian football teams, the creation of the LIV Golf tour, and the recent purchase of the Newcastle United football club in 2021.
What Source said?
“The negotiations didn’t take as much time as the ones with Ronaldo. As we now know the recipe to contract world-class players” This information was shared by the source.
There have been rumors that Lionel Messi may be joining one of the top Saudi Arabian teams, Al Hilal. However, sources from the club have stated that they have not been in direct contact with Messi’s team and have not confirmed any plans for him to join their team.
“He is a player at the end of his career and he is not here only for football. He is here to secure international attraction for the kingdom”, The source who was part of the Messi negotiations made this statement.
“The plan is not only Messi and Ronaldo, the plan is to bring glorious players like these two and also upcoming youth players who have a promising future.“
“We want people to visit Saudi Arabia to watch football stars” he also added. “Who could imagine that local league matches would attract foreigners? It’s just the Ronaldo impact.”
The reason why Messi is moving to Al-Hilal
Lionel Messi, who will turn 36 years old in June, hasn’t had the best of times in his two seasons playing for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after enjoying a magnificent career at Barcelona where he won numerous titles, including four Champions League and 10 La Liga titles, and is still adored by his fans.
Although he joined a stellar attack that features Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, Messi managed to score just 11 goals in his first season and helped PSG secure a straightforward Ligue 1 title.
However, even with the legendary Argentine in their squad, PSG has failed to get closer to their long-awaited Champions League win, being knocked out twice in the last 16 of the tournament.
Last week, tensions boiled over when PSG protesters dressed in black, ignited flares and chanted hostile songs directed at the underperforming Messi, Neymar, and Italian midfielder Marco Verratti.
In December, Messi achieved a career-defining moment when he led Argentina to a thrilling victory over Kylian Mbappe’s France in the World Cup final held in Doha. However, the jubilant mood of that moment sharply contrasts with the recent protests by PSG fans, who are frustrated with Messi’s underperformance on the field.
Saudi Arabia’s future plans
According to officials, Saudi Arabia has been in discussions with both Egypt and Greece to put forward a joint bid for hosting the World Cup. The country has been investing heavily in sports, with plans to host various tournaments in the coming years. In addition to the men’s Asian Cup football tournament and the Asian Games, Saudi Arabia has announced its plans to hold the Asian Winter Games on artificial snow.
This move shows that the country is actively trying to diversify its economy and increase its tourism industry by promoting itself as a destination for sports events. The joint bid for the World Cup would be a significant milestone for Saudi Arabia, as it would further cement its position as a major player in the world of sports.
On Tuesday, the Saudi Arabian state-owned oil company, Saudi Aramco, reported its quarterly earnings of $31.9 billion. This figure is greater than three-quarters of the combined income of major oil companies, such as BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, and TotalEnergies.
The earnings report is seen as a positive sign for Saudi Arabia, as the country is heavily reliant on oil exports for its revenue. This announcement is likely to boost investor confidence in the oil company, and in turn, the Saudi Arabian economy.