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Lionel Messi Reportedly Heading to Saudi Arabia For Massive Deal

  • Messi had reportedly initially requested a staggering $662 million per season.
  • His former Barcelona teammates — Jordi Alba and current captain Sergio Busquets — are also reportedly planning to join Al-Hilal.
Argentina forward Lionel Messi reacts after making his shot during a penalty shootout in the 2022 World Cup final.
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Lionel Messi and several of his former teammates appear to be on their way to Saudi Arabia.

The Argentine legend has reportedly agreed to a deal with Saudi Pro League club Al-Hilal, according to Spanish soccer outlet El Chiringuito.

Messi had reportedly initially requested a staggering $662 million per season, but the two sides reportedly settled on $386.5 million, which would still easily make him the highest-paid athlete in the world — ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Saudi side Al-Nassr for a reported $220 million per year.

According to El Chiringuito, Messi’s former Barcelona teammates — Jordi Alba and current captain Sergio Busquets — are also planning to join Al-Hilal.

Messi and Busquets become free agents on June 30, while Alba will have to rescind his current deal, which ends in mid-2024.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the world's highest paid athlete.

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The mass exodus from Europe to the Middle East is far from a sure thing, though, with both Barça and Messi’s current club Paris Saint-Germain doing everything they can to retain their talent.

For Messi’s part, he’s reportedly just focusing on winning Ligue 1 for PSG before reevaluating his options at the end of the season, according to soccer insider Fabrizio Romano, who believes Al-Hilal’s offer to be in excess of $440 million per season — more in line with last week’s reported offer of about $400 million per year.

Last week, Messi finished second in Forbes’ list of 2023 highest-paid athletes at $130 million; Ronaldo finished first with $136 million.

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