50-50 chance Messi joins Al Hilal

Saudi beckoning other top players
Messi Al Hilal
Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi is contemplating a move to join Al Hilal, city soccer rivals to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr when his PSG contract expires this summer, sources told ESPN.

Following talks that began last year with Messi and his advisers, there now seems to be a good chance of convincing the Argentinian forward to follow Ronaldo to Riyadh.

ESPN reported a source telling it that the 35-year-old star, who fronts the Visit Saudi tourism campaign, has a high probability,  as high as “50-50”, following March talks in Saudi.

A congruence of events is making these odds likely. One is   Messi’s unlikeliness to reach an agreement to extend his contract at PSG, which runs out at the end of this season, following a two-year deal in 2021.

Watch video: What if Messi moves to Saudi Arabia?

PSG is looking to cut its wage bill in the summer.

Also, as La Liga soccer leaders like Barcelona continue to struggle with financial crises, Messi rejoining the club he left also appears implausible.

Finally, Major league soccer club Inter Miami’s bid to attract Messi would go nowhere near the money on offer in Saudi, which is reported to be around £350 million-a-year package ($436 million appx.) The offer would eclipse even the stunning $75 million a year base salary that Cristiano Ronaldo receives from Al Nassr.

Meanwhile, Saudi is scheduled to stage the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time next December and is believed to submit a bid, later this year, to host the 2030 World Cup.

Al Hilal, coached by former Argentina forward Ramon Diaz, is the reigning Saudi champions.

Messi AL Hilal

More top players offered contracts


Additional Saudi Pro League soccer clubs have made offers to a number of high-profile players.

League sources told CBS Sports that Luka Modric, Sergio Ramos, and Karim Benzema have all received sizeable offers to continue their career in Saudi.

The Al-Ittihad club is believed to have made a pitch to Benzema and reported to optimistic that he will be convinced to depart Real Madrid when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Modric and Ramos will both be free agents in the summer as well with contract renewals still pending with Real and PSG respectively.

CBS Sports reported that Al Nassr is understood to be monitoring the progress of negotiations between Chelsea and N’Golo Kante.

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