Saudi Arabian clubs are reportedly targeting as many as 50 elite players from Europe, with Lionel Messi being the biggest name.
The Saudi Pro League has seen a major upturn in interest following Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Al-Nassr in January.
The Portuguese superstar shocked the footballing world with his decision to leave Europe in December, opting for a move to Al Nassr.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner became the world’s highest paid footballer on a reported £172 million a year.
Now, as reported by TalkSPORT, as many as 50 elite players from Europe could be pursued in an effort to follow the former Real Madrid superstar to the Gulf State, including his eternal rival Lionel Messi.
As Saudi Arabia look to step up their 2030 World Cup bid, they are understood to be bringing in top players from Europe on free transfers.
Several big names in top-six leagues across Europe have their contracts expiring this summer, including Lionel Messi.
The Argentine superstar has his deal with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) expiring this summer with Saudi side Al Hilal believed to be trying to tempt him with a big money offer.
Apart from the World Cup-winning forward, Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino, Real Madrid attacker Karim Benzema and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan are also set to be targeted.
The plan is reportedly backed by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Sport, in tandem with the country’s expected submission of a tricontinental 2030 World Cup bid along with Egypt and Greece.
Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos and Luka Modric and Juventus’ Angel Di Maria are also among those to be targeted by the Saudi Arabian sides.
PSG star Lionel Messi opens up on his future plans amid rumors of potential Barcelona return
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) superstar Lionel Messi recently addressed his future amidst reports of a potential return to Barcelona.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner has entered the final three months of his deal with the French giants.
With his future up in the air, the Argentine superstar has been widely linked with a return to his boyhood club Barcelona.
However, the World Cup winner has refused to comment on his future. In a recent ad campaign for Louis Vitton, the Argentine ace was asked about his future and the 2022 FIFA World Cup winner replied, saying (via Barca Universal):
“I don’t know what’s next… what my future holds, I like to imagine, to think about things that might happen, but I really don’t know what my future will be. Whatever God wants it to be, it will be.”
Lionel Messi joined PSG on a free transfer in the summer of 2021. He has since scored 30 goals and has provided 33 assists in 68 matches for the Ligue 1 giants.