Lionel Messi’s father denies that Star has signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to leave Paris Saint-Germain
Jorge Messi, Lionel Messi’s father and agent, has denied reports that his son has agreed to play in Saudi Arabia next season.
AFP reported earlier on Tuesday that Messi was on his way to Saudi Arabia, where he already works as a tourism ambassador, with a source describing the situation as “closed”. The report didn’t specify which team Messi would play for, but the Saudi Pro League’s most successful team, Al-Hilal, was widely rumored as the landing spot.
Messi is under contract with his current club Paris Saint-Germain until June 30.
Jorge did his best to put cold water on the reports of a deal, writing on his Instagram story: “There is absolutely nothing agreed with any club for next year” and any decision will be made after his son ends the season ended at PSG.
He also took the opportunity to chide certain sections of the media for accepting rumor as fact.
There have been previous reports that the Saudi government has offered Messi more than $400m a year to play for one of their teams, with Al-Hilal himself not involved in the negotiations. Such a deal would reunite Messi with his old rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who currently plays for Al-Nassr on a record deal, in the Saudi Pro League.
Where will Lionel Messi play next season?
As things stand, Messi seems to have three potential targets for next season. PSG is not one of them as both the club and the player are comfortable with that bridge burned down.
Saudi Arabia comes first, of course. Regardless of whether Messi actually has a deal there or not, it is clear that the oil state comes into the negotiations with enormous financial means. Signing Messi would be the country’s latest attempt to eclipse the sport on the world stage, an effort that has already landed Ronaldo, the LIV Golf Tour, a Formula One Grand Prix and several boxing matches and horse racing.
Messi has spent the last two years playing for another club backed by oil money as PSG is owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Another contender could be the US MLS, which has already won an internationally known football star in David Beckham. In this case, the league went all out with a deal that gave Beckham his own team, Inter Miami. Bringing Messi would require a similar effort.
And then there’s Messi’s old flame, FC Barcelona, who did it allegedly was aggressively looking for a reunion with his greatest player of all time. One can’t hope to match the Saudis’ reported offer with UEFA’s financial fair play rules, but there’s always a chance that Messi is a little more important than money here.