As the Lionel Messi vs. PSG drama unfolds, the top Saudi football clubs Al Hilal and Al Nassr rivalry stretches beyond the ground and into their secret boardrooms.
Messi defied procedure and went to Saudi Arabia on a goodwill visit last week, which earned him a 15-day suspension and salary cutbacks, and false rumors that he will leave Paris Saint-Germain when his contract expires in the summer.
After his unsanctioned trip to the Middle East and social media apologies to PSG, the unhappy Argentine superstar was linked to Al Hilal in a record-breaking deal. Al Hilal, the most decorated Asian club with almost 65 official trophies, reportedly paid £320m for services.
Al Hilal will have bragging rights over Al Nassr, who are paying £ 175m a year for Cristiano Ronaldo if the transfer goes through when Messi’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires this summer
El Chiringuito said Messi’s former Barcelona colleagues, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba, will also sign lucrative deals with Al Hilal.
Messi took to Instagram to apologize to his club and over-passionate French football fans in what appears to be a calculated attempt to redeem his reputation after leading Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar last year.
Messi and his family were pictured touring Riyadh and Diriyah
Al Hilal, which has the record for most continental trophies in Asia and 18 Professional League crowns, is expected to rely on Messi to return to the top of the Saudi Pro League.
The team is fourth in the league, seven points behind Al-Nassr and 10 behind Al-Ittihad.
Messi has stated that he will finish his tenure with PSG by winning an 11th league title