Following the record-breaking contract signed last month between Saudi football club Al-Nassr and former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo, two other Saudi teams have reportedly expressed interest in signing Argentinian World Cup winner, Lionel Messi after his father and agent, Jorge, was said to be in Riyadh for talks with at least one of the clubs.
Al-Hilal, which is the kingdom’s most successful club with 18 titles currently sits in fourth place in the Saudi Professional League, while Ronaldo’s club Al-Nassr is at top spot. According to Forbes, the Riyadh-based team is said to be prepared to offer a $350 million a year contract with the Paris Saint Germain player, whose contract with the French side expires this summer. It has also been reported that Jeddah-based Al-Itihad are making a similar offer with both teams requesting help from the Saudi government in making the offers.
If agreed, it would see Messi become the world’s highest paid footballer, overtaking his rival Ronaldo who is on a $200 million contract, with commercial deals. However, the BBC citing Spanish football expert Guillem Balague have claimed that Messi has not been approached by Hilal and would not be considering a Saudi move.
Both players are widely considered to be “the greatest of all time” by their respective fan bases and reignite a rivalry while playing in the Spanish La Liga. If the rumours are true, the pair could potentially face each-other again in a “Riyadh derby.” On 19 January, PSG will play Al-Nassr in a friendly, though it is unclear if Ronaldo and Messi will both be playing.