Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal are ready to offer Lionel Messi a mouthwatering deal of up to $350 million a year, according to a report.
Messi is currently a Paris Saint Germain player, but his contract expires in the summer making him a free agent in less than six months.
Contrary to widespread claims, Messi has not agreed to renew terms at the Parc des Princes according to L’Equipe, which gives hope to parties such as Inter Miami and former club FC Barcelona.
Al Hilal are also looking to snatch Messi away from Ligue 1 according to Mundo Deportivo, which reports on Thursday afternoon that the Saudis are ready to offer the seven-time Ballon d’or winner a mouthwatering sum which would see him overtake generational rival Ronaldo as the world’s highest paid player.
Ronaldo joined Al Hilal’s rival club Al Nassr at the turn of 2023, and will reportedly receive $210 million a year.
In 2022, Messi finished second in Forbes’ list of the world’s-highest paid soccer players with earnings of $120 million – $65 million of which came on-field and $55 million off it.
Ronaldo was third with $100 million ($40 million on-field, $60 million off-field) as Messi’s Paris Saint Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe took first place with $128 million split into $110 million on-field and $18 millon off-field thanks to his lucrative contract extension signed in the spring.
Saudi Arabia is currently preparing a bid to host the 2030 World Cup alongside Greece and Egypt, and having two of the greatest footballers of all time starring in their domestic league would swing heavily in their favor.
Mundo Deportivo quotes two different figures by saying that Al Hilal are ready to offer Messi €300 million ($322 million) or up to $350 million a year.
The Catalan daily newspaper says that while these are “difficult” amounts to reject, “it remains to be seen if the Argentine would agree to move to a country with such different customs and such a complex climate in terms of temperatures”.
Messi is no stranger to Saudi Arabia however after becoming an ambassador for the Kingdom’s ‘Visit Saudi’ tourism campaign in 2022.
Later this month, he will also travel there to play for PSG against Al Nassr in a friendly and Al Hilal could take advantage of the opportunity to make him a concrete proposal.
An MD source has pointed out that matches between Al Hilal and Al Nassr are considered Saudi Arabia’s equivalent of El Clasico between Barca and Real Madrid, which Messi and Ronaldo starred in prominently throughout the course of the late 2000s and 2010s.