Following weeks of speculation, Ronaldo signed for Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr in December in a deal worth £175 million per year. Now, it has been reported that Al-Nassr’s bitter rivals Al-Hilal are drawing up an elaborate plan to sign Messi in the summer.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Al-Hilal are willing to offer the 2022 World Cup winner a mammoth $300 million (£247.4m) per year to play in the Saudi Pro League. The 35-year-old will be out of contract with Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, although there is an option for a further year and Messi has reportedly provided assurance that he will sign an extension with the French outfit and spend at least one more season at Parc des Princes before exploring other options.
Jorge Messi, Leo’s dad and agent, has supposedly already travelled to Saudi Arabia to discuss a potential move. Nasser Al-Attiyah, a relative of the Emir of Qatar, has added fuel to fire after reportedly stating: “Messi, his next club after his departure from Paris Saint-Germain, will be Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Hilal are currently banned from signing new players until the next transfer window. But they are eligible to sign Messi in the summer, which could see him rekindle his epic rivalry with Ronaldo. Moreover, Messi is currently Saudi’s tourism ambassador which could make it easier to convince him to shift his career to Riyadh.
The Argentine forward will be in action against Rennes in Ligue 1 on Sunday whereas Ronaldo could potentially play his first match in Riyadh when an All-Star Saudi XI will face Messi’s PSG in a friendly on January 19.