Rivals of Cristiano Ronaldo's new club Al Nassr in Saudi Arabia, Al Hilal, are pursuing 35-year-old Argentina and Paris St. Germain star Lionel Messi in a $300 million (£245.9 million) per year contract. Messi is tied to PSG presently and the French giants are interested in extending his contract after his outstanding performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Clubs in the Saudi league are raiding Europe for top players as they try to bolster their league after being labeled the 'farmer's league'. Messi once signed a deal worth Sh3.7 billion to promote tourism in Saudi Arabia and his friendly ties with Saudi officials may make the deal easier to accept.
If Al Hilal will manage to sign Messi, the Riyadh derby which involves Al Nassr and Al Hilal will be eye-watering, as there will be two great footballers playing against each other. Messi has been displaying masterclass performances for PSG after struggling to fit into the French league during the 2021/22 campaign. He recently scored against Angers in a 2-0 victory that PSG posted to give them an edge in the Ligue 1 table. The majority of Messi's fans want him to sign for the Saudi club to give Ronaldo stiff competition despite both figures having conquered the European leagues.
Messi currently has just six months remaining on his Paris Saint-Germain contract, meaning he is able to talk to clubs outside of France ahead of a prospective free transfer in the summer. With Al Hilal competing in the Club World Cup - held in Morocco from February 1-11 - there are suggestions the Saudi side could try and tempt Messi to the club even sooner, though. The Argentine hasn't agreed to a new contract at the Parc des Princes. While his reportedly agreed deal with MLS side Inter Miami hasn't been signed either. Matches between Al Hilal and Al-Nassr are considered Saudi Arabia's equivalent of El Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid, and, with Ronaldo already at one, their rivalry from the 2010s could be reignited in the Middle East, should Messi move.