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Why Did Lionel Messi Go to Saudi Arabia?

Lionel Messi has been suspended without pay from PSG because of an unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia, but rumour has it there's a $400m deal in the works....

Lionel Messi has been in some hot water recently having been suspended from his current club Paris Saint-Germain for an unsanctioned trip to Saudi Arabia. He will be suspended for two weeks without pay for missing scheduled training sessions, but that might not matter much to him if the rumours of his Saudi deal are true. 

According to The Telegraph, Messi might be working out a deal with the Saudi Pro League, valued at $400m USD (~$600m AUD) annually. Messi’s representatives are allegedly underway to prepare for the expiration of his contract with Paris Saint-Germain at the end of June.

This isn’t out of the realm of possibility as Cristiano Ronaldo was given “the most lucrative salary deal in the history of football” involving 200 million (~$333m AUD) to join the Saudi Pro League’s Al-Nassr until the summer of 2025. 

As The Telegraph writes, “Ronaldo joined Al-Nassr, currently second in the league behind leaders Al-Ittihad. Al-Nassr’s traditional rivals are Al-Hilal and placing Messi with that club, historically the nation’s most successful, would recreate the rivalry the pair had for nine years with Real Madrid and Barcelona. Al-Hilal won the Asian Champions League equivalent in 2021, their fourth title in that competition.” 

This isn’t the first time Messi has been connected with Saudi Arabia as he is a tourism ambassador for the country. Additionally, he posted a sponsored post for #VisitSaudi on Instagram. The Saudi Tourism Authority wrote in a press release that Messi had “… returned to Saudi for a second time, this with his family.” 

It isn’t crazy to think that Messi would leave PSG for a bigger salary considering that’s the exact reason he left Barcelona FC in August 2021, a club where at that point he’d spent his entire career. Granted, Barcelona FC were in dire financial straits at the time and Messi had even agreed to reduce his salary by 50% to help the club out. 


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