Argentina fans celebrate Lionel Messi goal in World Cup final
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Lionel Messi is reportedly set to be offered a £245million-per-year by Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal, which will make him the highest-paid athlete in history. The news comes just months after Cristiano Ronaldo made the move to the Middle East to join Al Nassr.
Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the season and he is yet to pen a new deal at Le Parc des Princes. Reports have speculated that the iconic figure has verbally agreed to remain with the Ligue 1 side, though clubs remain keen to try and prise him away.
MLS outfit Inter Miami are interested and have held talks with Messi’s representatives previously, and Saudi side Al Hillal have also emerged as a potential destination for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
According to Mundo Deportivo, the Saudi Pro League side are willing to offer Messi an eye-watering contract that will gazump what Ronaldo earns with Al Nassr (£173m-per-year). The ex-Barcelona star already has links in Saudi Arabia after becoming an ambassador on their tourist board last year, though that is unlikely to prove decisive in his decision.
Messi won the Golden Ball award at the Qatar World Cup over the winter break after he led Argentina to victory, and his displays confirmed that he is still capable of competing at the very top level. The playmaker scored seven and assisted three at the competition, with the overall success of Argentina at the tournament leading many to believe that 2022 was the year that he wrote his name in the history books as the very greatest to ever grace a football pitch.
Thus, a move to a less competitive league without Champions League football may not be an attractive prospect for Messi, given that PSG have a fighting chance on the European stage thanks to their sensational squad.
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson believes that if Messi did decide to leave Christophe Galtier’s side then he would struggle to decline an offer from Manchester City. He told OLGB: “I wished Argentina to win the World Cup only because of Lionel Messi; he deserved it. I don’t know what will happen to Messi, but if he continues to play like the way he did in the World Cup, he is still one of the best.
“Pep Guardiola knows Lionel Messi very well, so I can’t imagine he would say no to that transfer. It would be great for him to play in the Premier League, especially with Erling Haaland in front of him, but I can’t see it happening.”
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