Argentina’s footballing legend Lionel Messi has reportedly agreed to sign a deal for Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Hilal, the AFP news agency reported on Tuesday.
Messi’s transfer to the Middle East is “a done deal” according to AFP, quoting a source close to negotiations. It has been reported that a USD 505 mln deal is on the table from Al-Hilal. If he were to agree to the move, his bumper contract would see him eclipse old rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest-paid player in the world.
If the PSG player were to move to Saudi Arabia he would have the opportunity to come head-to-head with the Portuguese great, as Ronaldo currently plies his trade for Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia.
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Messi is a seven-time Ballon d’Or winner and joined French champions PSG, to much fanfare, in 2021. However, he experienced a relatively unsuccessful season and whilst he has posted very impressive numbers (goals and assists) this campaign, his form has tailed since he lifted the World Cup with Argentina in December.
There has been intense speculation regarding his future intentions coming into this summer as his current contract comes to an end. Furthermore, an unsanctioned commercial trip to Saudi Arabia rubbed the PSG hierarchy up the wrong way and he is currently not playing for the club due to a two-week suspension for the misdemeanor.
His former club Barcelona appeared to be keen to bring their former captain back but they remain dogged by financial troubles which make a return to the Camp Nou all but impossible.
There have also been strong suggestions that Messi might make a move to an MLS team in the U.S., with the David Beckham co-owned Inter Miami rumored to have been especially keen.