Saudi Pro League big hitters Al-Hilal are reportedly ready to make Lionel Messi the highest-paid football player in history if he joins them.
Messi’s future is subject to much speculation this summer due to his contract at Paris Saint-Germain running down at the end of the season. The Argentina superstar can leave for free by the end of July if he fails to agree on a new deal at the Parc des Princes.
The French side has reportedly opened contract talks with Messi, but both sides have not reached a definitive agreement yet.
As such, many clubs are making advances at the 35-year-old, hoping to get his attention and secure his services. For example, Messi’s former side Barcelona has confirmed talks with the Argentine, hoping he can make a summer switch.
At the same time, Major League Soccer clubs have devised a plan that will allow them collectively fund Messi’s move to any MLS club of his choice.
Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad were the first linked to signing Messi in January. The side currently challenges Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr side for the Saudi title, and they offered Messi a lucrative deal that will match that of his great rival.
However, according to GOAL, Al-Hilal is even offering Messi a far bigger deal that would see him overtake Ronaldo as the highest-paid player on the planet.
The Portuguese star was handed a deal worth around £173 million ($214m) a year when he left Manchester United for Al Nassr in January. That deal has the 38-year-old comfortably sitting at the top of the charts of most lucrative salaries.
But should Messi leave PSG for Al-Hilal, he would overtake his eternal rival, with the Saudi club willing to offer him a €220m per year deal.
This is so even though Al-Hilal are currently observing a transfer ban, they are confident of being in a position to add new signings to their ranks this summer.
What’s the way forward?
Messi’s father, Jorge, recently visited the Saudi capital of Riyadh, during which talks regarding a potential move to the region could have been held.
However, should the 2022 World Cup winner be interested in the financial benefits alone, he could choose Al-Hilal, given that they will offer him more money than PSG can afford.
Messi earns well at PSG, but according to L’Equipe, he might see his salary reduced, as Financial Fair Play rules mean Messi will need to lower his wage demands to thrash out an extension in France.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is reportedly reluctant to slash his monthly pay cheque of €3.375m (£3m/$4m), especially as he has received a proposal from the Middle East that would make him the biggest-earning player to have ever played the game.