Lionel Messi transfer: Brakes put on £320m Saudi move as Man Utd legend Cristiano Ronaldo sparks major concerns
Lionel Messi is yet to make a firm decision on where he will be playing his football next season, amid claims the legendary star was closing on a lucrative move to Saudi Arabia.
The 35-year-old star, regarded by many as the greatest player of all time, has this season helped Argentina to World Cup glory. And while the ultimate crowning of his legendary career, it seems his playing days remain far from over.
Indeed, with his two-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain set to expire this summer, Messi is ready to make one final career move.
That has seen the superstar linked with a variety of different moves. Truth be told, few clubs can either finance a deal or present a package capable of enticing the player.
However, he is being strongly tipped with a move to Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal in a deal worth an astonishing £320m a year to the player.
That said, Barcelona are also strongly rumoured to be keen on bringing their greatest ever star back to Catalonia. Financing such a deal, however, is much easier said than done for the cash-strapped club.
As a result, it is the Saudis who seemingly look the most viable option to sign Messi. And reports on Tuesday morning claimed the move to the Riyadh-based club is on the verge of being agreed.
Their dream is to bring together the Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo rivalry one final time.
Indeed, having made the move to Al-Nassr in January, the Saudis at least have part one of the agreement signed and sealed.
However, reports have this week emerged that Ronaldo and Al-Nassr could be set for a parting of ways already.
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Messi awaiting Barcelona move with Ronaldo tipped to leave
Should Ronaldo depart, it will put a serious doubt on Messi also making the switch to the Middle East.
Furthermore, there’s a belief that Messi would sacrifice the Saudi millions to return to Barcelona anyway.
And that is a view echoed by transfer journalist Ben Jacobs. Speaking to Caught Offside, he believes Messi’s priority remains on returning to Barcelona anyway.
“The feeling is that everyone involved in a potential deal wants a Messi-Ronaldo rivalry in Riyadh. Hence why Al-Hilal has always been the intended club,” Jacobs said.
“Nothing is done or signed just yet. But those close to the deal are certainly more confident now than a few months ago. And one reason why is because a PSG stay is off the table.
“Those working on a Saudi deal are hoping to lock something in before Barcelona have a chance to table anything.
“I think it unlikely, though, Messi will rush into a decision before he knows what is possible at the Camp Nou.”
The difficulty for Messi is that Barcelona might not be able to fund such a move. And even if Messi makes a serious wages sacrifice, their perilous finances and the implications of FFP rules means a move there might be off the table.
However, talk that Ronaldo wants to return to Real Madrid could potentially see the Messi, Ronaldo rivalry rekindled once again in LaLiga. Stranger things have happened.
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