Messi's dad-agent 'in Riyadh' amid reports World Cup winner might follow Ronaldo with Saudi deal
Lionel Messi’s agent has reportedly arrived in Riyadh amid rumours that the World Cup winner could be interested in following Cristiano Ronaldo with a move to Saudi Arabia, according to local media.
Jorge Messi, who is also the Argentinian footballer's father, is said to be in Riyadh following earlier reports that he was allegedly made an offer from Saudi club Al-Hilal. The offer was confirmed by Jose Felix Diaz, a journalist at Spanish sporting outlet Marca, who spoke to SBC Sport on Tuesday.
While The New Arab could not independently verify the reports, the 35-year-old's contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires in June, and Marca was the first outlet to successfully report that Ronaldo would join Al-Nassr.
Messi is due to play for PSG against a Saudi select team, including stars from Al-Hilal and Ronaldo's Al-Nassr, this month in Riyadh. He is also the face of an advertising campaign for Visit Saudi, the kingdom's official tourism campaign.
The star has allegedly been made an offer worth 900 million euros ($967 million) and the footballer appears open to the idea of playing for Al-Hilal in the future, sports journalist and media personality Khalid Al-Dhiyab, who works for Saudi broadcaster Al-Riyadiah, has claimed.
The New Arab has contacted Messi's agent and Al-Hilal about the report but received no response at the time of publication.
حصريًا 🚨🚨🚨🚨— خــالد الــذياب (@Snape_PL) January 8, 2023
- في حال تم رفع الايقاف عن #الهلال السعودي 🇸🇦 سيعلن الهلال التعاقد مع ليو ميسي خلال هذا الفترة.
- الهلال قدم أضخم عقد كروي في التاريخ لبطل العالم ليو ميسي سيتجاوز 900 مليون يورو.
✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅✅ https://t.co/69vElXWzBD pic.twitter.com/uMHenmCUto
Al-Hilal is currently banned from adding new players to the squad until the next transfer window, due to open in the coming months.
The news comes after Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo inked a historic deal last month to join Al-Nassr.
The two-year deal is reportedly worth over €200 million ($214 million), making him the highest-paid footballer in the world.
Both players are considered the best in footballing history, but Argentina's win in the 2022 Qatar World Cup saw pundits tout Messi as the world's greatest.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, left Manchester United during the tournament amid mounting criticism, as Portugal crashed out to Morocco in the quarter-finals.
Former Minister of Information in Kuwait Dr. Saad bin Tafela Al Ajimi, told Gulf News, that Al-Hilal seriously considered snapping up Messi after the Ronaldo deal and the club already printed shirts with his name on the back as a publicity stunt, according to local media.
Saudi Arabia is looking to bolster its standing in football ahead of its bid for the 2030 World Cup, with efforts to revitalise its domestic league and recently introduced women's football.
Al-Hilal is deemed the most successful club in the kingdom and in Asia, with 17 domestic and four continental titles respectively.