‘Deal done’: Messi set for megabucks Saudi move, says source

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<एक वर्ग ="जोड़ना " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/players/372884" डेटा-यल्क ="एसएलके: लियोनेल मेस्सी; एल्म: संदर्भ_लिंक; आईटीसी: 0">Lionel Messi</a> has <a class= के साथ विश्व कप जीता"जोड़ना " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/teams/argentina/" डेटा-यल्क ="एसएलके: अर्जेंटीना; एल्म: संदर्भ_लिंक; आईटीसी: 0">Argentina</a> last year” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/B__NpJhlEII8i0M0NpjUdw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp.com/5159f292805138e407256fc7f7b8dc98″ data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/B__NpJhlEII8i0M0NpjUdw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp.com/5159f292805138e407256fc7f7b8dc98″/ ></div>
<p>Argentine superstar Lionel Messi will play in Saudi Arabia next season under a blockbuster deal, a source told AFP on Tuesday, potentially joining his arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo as the kingdom puts its oil riches on the sport. raised.</p>
<p>Messi will sign a “huge” deal with an undisclosed club, the source said, with the 35-year-old close to talks taking place just months after lifting the World Cup in Qatar.</p>
<p>“The deal is done for Messi. He will play in Saudi Arabia next season,” said the source on condition of anonymity.</p>
<p>“The contract is extraordinary. It is huge. We are only finalizing some small details,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak to the media.</p>
<p>There was no confirmation from Messi

“It is Saudi Arabia that brought him not an exclusive club. The money comes from one place – the PIF.”

Despite numerous reports linking Messi with one of the Saudi teams, Al Hilal, club sources told AFP they were not direct contact with the Argentine team.

“He is a player at the end of his career and he is not here only for football. He is here to gain international attention for the state,” said the source after the Messi talks.

“The plan is not just Messi and Ronaldo, the plan is to bring in great players like these two and also young upcoming players who have a promising future.

“We want people to go to Saudi Arabia to see football stars,” the source said. “Who could have thought that local league matches would attract foreigners? It's just the Ronaldo effect.”

– PSG protesters –

Messi, who turns 36 in June, has had two lackluster seasons in Paris after a spectacular era at Barcelona where he won four Champions Leagues and 10 La Liga titles, and is still worshiped by fans.

The record -time world player, joining a mouth-watering attack featuring Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, scored just 11 goals in his debut season as he helped PSG clinch the regular Ligue 1 title.

But PSG haven't come close to the coveted Champions League triumph, twice exiting in the last 16, even with the brilliant Argentine in their line-up.

Disappointment boiled over last week when PSG protesters dressed in black lit fires and chanted hostile chants targeting underperforming Messi, Neymar and Italian midfielder Marco Verratti.

The angry scenes contrasted with Messi's career-crowning moment in December, when he led Argentina to World Cup final victories over Mbappe and France in Doha to fill the biggest gap on his resume.

According to officials, Saudi Arabia has held talks with Egypt and Greece about a joint World Cup bid. In the coming years it will host the men's Asian Cup football tournament, the Asian Games and even the Asian Winter Games on artificial ice.

On Tuesday, state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco announced quarterly profit of $31.9 billion – more than three-quarters of the combined earnings of oil majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies.