Lionel Messi set to join Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia after being offered mega contract by Al Hilal

PSG forward Lionel Messi looks on during the UEFA Champions League match between PSG and Maccabi Haifa on 25 October, 2022 at the Parc des Princes, Paris, France
(Image credit: Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images)

Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal are set to offer Lionel Messi a deal worth up to £285 million a year, which would see him overtake Cristiano Ronaldo as the highest paid footballer on the planet. 

Messi currently has just six months remaining on his Paris Saint-Germain contract, meaning he is able to talk to clubs outside of France ahead of a prospective free transfer in the summer. 

With Al Hilal competing in the Club World Cup - held in Morocco from February 1-11 - there are suggestions the Saudi side could try and tempt Messi to the club even sooner, though.

The Argentine hasn't agreed to a new contract at the Parc des Princes according to L'Equipe, while his reportedly agreed deal with MLS side Inter Miami hasn't been signed either. 

According to Mundo Deportivo (opens in new tab), Ali Hilal are ready to offer Messi the incredible sum of money just weeks after Cristiano Ronaldo signed a contract with Saudi Pro League rivals Al-Nassr, worth £173 million. Al-Nassr are currently leading the top flight ahead of the reigning Saudi and Asian Champions League champions Al Hilal. 

Matches between Al Hilal and Al-Nassr are considered Saudi Arabia's equivalent of El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and, with Ronaldo already at one, their rivalry from the 2010s could be reignited in the Middle East, should Messi move. 

Messi is currently already associated with Saudi Arabia, too, after becoming an ambassador for their 'Visit Saudi' tourism campaign in 2022. 

With the nation preparing a joint-bid for the 2030 World Cup, alongside Egypt and Greece, Messi's image rights could further enhance the possibility of the three countries hosting the tournament. 

Next week, Messi will travel to Saudi Arabia with PSG to play against an all-star XI comprised of players from Al-Nassr and Al Hilal. The exhibition game will take place at the King Fahd Stadium, in Riyadh, on Thursday 19 January. 

Mundo Deportivo asserted that a proposal to Messi will likely be made by Al Hilal before or after the match. 

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Ryan Dabbs
Staff writer

Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.