Messi to likely move on from PSG as offer from Saudi club Al Hilal lingers: Reports

Argentina football star Lionel Messi will likely leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season, and could opt for a reported mega offer from the Saudi club Al Hilal, media reports said on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi is “much more likely” to leave PSG at the end of the season than sign a new deal, a source close to the club told AFP on Tuesday.

“The dynamics have completely changed with PSG less pushing to renew (his contract),” the source was quoted as saying. There is “no deal, no exit yet. But exit is much more likely,” the report added.

ESPN citing a source said Messi is “actively considering a move to Saudi Arabia that would see him join Al Hilal, the city rivals of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr,” when his current contract ends.

Messi was expected to travel to Saudi Arabia in March as the country’s tourism ambassador. He last came to the Kingdom in May 2022.

His father and agent Jorge Messi was spotted in Riyadh in March, reigniting claims that the world champion might sign on with the Saudi club.

Messi joined PSG in 2021 as part of a two-year deal, after leaving Barcelona. He has scored 29 goals and set up 32 more in 67 appearances for PSG in all competitions.

Messi is currently costing PSG around 40 million euros ($43.6 million) a year in wages at a time when the club have to keep in line with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules, although there have been suggestions they could offer him a new deal on a reduced salary.

Barcelona have been openly courting Messi, hoping to persuade the Argentine to return to the Camp Nou two years after he left the club where he won four Champions League titles. He left Barcelona when the club could not afford to renew his contract.

Meanwhile, football in Saudi Arabia has been in the spotlight in recent months, most recently due to Portuguese player Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to join Al Nassr and the Saudi team’s historic win against Argentina in the FIFA World Cup last year.

Saudi Arabia will also play host to the FIFA Club World Cup this year from December 12 to 22.

A move for Messi to a Saudi club would further these efforts.

The Kingdom has in recent years made a significant effort to invest more in sports as part of efforts underlined by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform plan to diversify the country’s economy and improve the quality of life.

The country also hosts other international sports such as Formula One and is behind high-profile golf and boxing promotions, and there are also bigger events on the agenda.

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