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Lionel Messi to snub Saudi Arabia move as decision made over his future

Rory O'Callaghan

| Last updated 

Lionel Messi to snub Saudi Arabia move as decision made over his future

Lionel Messi has decided to turn down a highly lucrative move to Saudi Arabia, it has been claimed.

Messi, 35, is a free agent this summer after deciding to leave Paris Saint-Germain after two seasons at the Parc des Princes.

There has been huge speculation over his next move, with several options on the table for the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Saudi club Al-Hilal has reportedly offered Messi a gargantuan two-year contract worth €500m (£434m) per season.


The contract offer is a part of wider recruitment drive from the Saudi Pro League to bring the biggest names in football to the Gulf state, having already convinced Cristiano Ronaldo to join Al-Nassr in January.

Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante a number of other star names from European football look set to move to Saudi Arabia this summer after being offered huge contracts.

But Messi has decided against joining them, according to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.



He will instead join Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are partly owned by David Beckham.

"Messi has decided. His destination: Inter Miami," tweeted Balague.

It follows a report from French outlet L'Equipe, that claims Miami is 'on pole' for Messi's signature as the player and his wife Antonella Roccuzzo 'don't see themselves settling with their three boys in the Gulf desert.'

How can Inter Miami afford Messi?


While Inter Miami are unable to match the massive contract offer from Saudi Arabia, they have put together a financial package attractive enough to convince the Argentine to move to the United States.

"The league has gotten very creative with all of this," one MLS stakeholder told The Athletic.

"Everything is on the table."

The Daily Mail claim that Messi's Inter Miami deal involves contributions from two of MLS's biggest commercial partners: Apple TV, their current broadcast rights holder, and Adidas, the league's apparel sponsor.


MLS and Apple have discussed offering Messi a share of the revenue generated by new subscribers attracted to the platform's streaming package, MLS Season Pass.

Apple is also working on a four-part docuseries about Messi competing at four World Cups, culminating in Argentina's triumph at Qatar 2022.

Adidas is also said to be offering Messi a profit-sharing agreement, which would involve the player receiving a cut of any increase in Adidas' profits resulting from his involvement in MLS.

There are also rumours that Messi will have the same option in his contract that Beckham was granted following his move to LA Galaxy in 2007, allowing him to purchase a stake in an MLS club at a pre-set price.


Could Messi return to Barcelona?

A previous report from L'Equipe has claimed there is the potential for Messi to make a dramatic return to former club Barcelona as part of his deal with Inter Miami.

It is claimed that Inter could sign Messi and then immediately loan him to Barcelona for six months or longer.

This proposal would give Messi more time at the top of European football before moving to play in MLS.

But it remains to be seen whether Inter would sanction such a move.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Lionel Messi, Inter Miami, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Saudi Pro League, Transfers, Football

Rory O'Callaghan
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