Lionel Messi set to overtake Cristiano Ronaldo as world’s highest-paid athlete as Saudi delegation arrives in Paris
With Lionel Messi’s time with PSG coming to an end, the Argentina captain has been linked to Al Hilal, Inter Miami, FC Barcelona, Newcastle United and Chelsea. The 2022 World Cup winner was booed ahead and during his final match for the Ligue 1 outfit.
He was welcomed with boos when his name was announced for the pre-match warm-up against Clermont Foot 63 at the Parc des Princes. The boos got louder during the match when he failed to score in a one-on-one situation.
According to reports, a Saudi delegation has arrived in Paris and is trying to sign Messi, whose PSG contract ends on June 30. Earlier, Messi’s father and agent Jorge had revealed that a decision would be made after the Ligue 1 campaign ended. He also denied reports that Messi had accepted a huge Al Hilal offer. Also, it is being reported that the Saudi delegation in Paris are from Al Hilal.
Messi is reportedly being offered 350-600 million Euros a year. If accurate, he will become football’s highest paid athlete, overtaking Al Nassr’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Initially, Barcelona was expected to be Messi’s preferred destination. But his hopes of returning to his former club seems to be fading. Barcelona reportedly conducted an internal economic report, which proved that Messi’s return to Spain would be highly profitable. The report revealed that his return would be worth 230 million Euros per-year, out of which 150 million Euros would come from new sponsors, while 80 million Euros would come from ticket sales.
The club will also use the Montjuic Stadium next season as the Camp Nou is getting renovated. So Messi’s return could see good attendance. Last season, Messi grew 13 percent in sponsorship and 60 percent in shirt sales, which generated a lot of money for PSG. Also in terms of spectators, Barcelona’s first season without Messi saw a huge drop in the number of fans at the Camp Nou. Although with the arrival of Lewandowski and the team improving, the numbers have improved this season.
Barcelona had submitted the report to La Liga, and have been waiting for their green light to go for Messi. But the club hasn’t received any word from La Liga yet and it looks like Messi’s destination could be somewhere else. Messi left his boyhood club in August 2022, after the club couldn’t come to an agreement with La Liga’s financial rules.
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