Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi will play next season in Saudi Arabia under an “extraordinary and huge” deal after two lackluster seasons with Paris Saint-Germain, a source familiar with the negotiations told AFP on Tuesday.
The 35-year-old Argentine star had a range of options between Saudi Arabia, the United States, and even his old club, Barcelona, Spain, eager to bring back the “mosquito”, after high indications of his departure from his current Qatari-owned club.
However, a source in Riyadh, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said, “Messi’s deal has been completed. He will play in Saudi Arabia next season,” without indicating the club he will play for.
He added, “The contract is exceptional. It is huge. We are finalizing some small details.”
For his part, France’s Paris Saint-Germain told AFP separately that the world champion’s contract is still valid until June 30.
A second source in the French club said, “If the club wanted to renew his contract, it would have done so early.”
Saint-Germain finally stopped his World Cup-winning star last December in Qatar, because he traveled without the club’s approval to Saudi Arabia, where he is active as an ambassador for tourism in the Kingdom.
On Monday, Messi returned to training after apologizing to the club and his colleagues.
Messi’s arrival to Saudi Arabia comes months after the arrival of his rival and Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined the Saudi club Al-Nasr in a resounding deal last January.
It is believed that the Portuguese contract, which extends until June 2025, is estimated at more than 440 million euros, which makes him the highest-paid athlete, according to Forbes.
Despite the great signing, Al-Nasr is five points away from the top of the Saudi League table, 4 matches before the end of the competition, while he was eliminated from the race for the King’s Cup. Al-Nasr is witnessing administrative confusion, as its French coach, Rudi Garcia, suddenly left in April.
– Generous financing – The massive funding for the two resounding deals comes from the Saudi Public Investment Fund, one of the largest sovereign funds in the world with assets exceeding $620 billion, according to the source.
The source said that it was the “Saudi authorities who brought him, not a specific club. The money comes from one place, the Public Investment Fund.”
He explained, “The negotiation did not take as much time as that with Ronaldo. We also now know the recipe for signing world-class players.”
The source explained, “The plan is not only Messi and Ronaldo, but to bring in great players like this duo, as well as emerging players with a promising future.”
Messi was originally linked to a contract with the Saudi Tourism Authority to market it through social media, and this was the subject of Messi and his family’s trip to Saudi Arabia, which led to his suspension.
The Kingdom sought to push Messi to join the Saudi League, and to re-form a duel with Ronaldo after the one that captured the breath of viewers in Spain when the “Don” was carrying the colors of Real Madrid.
Several recent reports indicated that Al-Hilal Club made an attractive offer for the best player in the world seven times, which may amount to 400 million euros annually to bring the world champion crowned last December in Qatar.
“We want people to visit Saudi Arabia to watch football stars,” the source said. “Who would have imagined that the local league matches would attract foreigners? It’s just the Ronaldo effect.”
– Paris supporters angry – Messi, who will turn 36 in June, spent two lackluster seasons in Paris after spending a glorious era in Barcelona, where he won four Champions League titles and 10 La Liga titles, and remains an idol for the fans of this club. Catalan team.
Summary of some details of the Messi deal
– The contract is exceptional and huge, and it will be greater than the Ronaldo deal estimated at 440 million euros.
Messi will play from next season, and he did not reveal the name of the club.
The deal has not been officially settled, and some small details remain.
If Paris Saint-Germain wanted to renew his contract, he would have done so early.
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