Lionel Messi could follow Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Pro League

Published January 16th, 2023 - 11:23 GMT
An art school student gives final touches to painting of football players Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo (L) and Argentina's Lionel Messi ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament in Mumbai on November 18, 2022. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)
An art school student gives final touches to painting of football players Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo (L) and Argentina's Lionel Messi ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament in Mumbai on November 18, 2022. (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP)

Lionel Messi led Argentina to FIFA World Cup glory in Qatar last year, defeating France in the final. The Argentine captain was in talismanic form throughout the tournament and received the Golden Ball award for his performances.

Having returned to PSG, the attacker has already opened his account for the Ligue 1 giants and will be eyeing UEFA Champions League glory this season, something which the club acquired him for in the first place itself.

It also looks like this could be the Argentine maestro's last season in France with Spanish media outlet Marca claiming that he could be set to follow arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the Saudi Pro League.

Messi's PSG contract expires this summer and he is yet to renew. Reportedly, Al-Ittihad are considered to be favourites to land the former Barcelona captain, with Al-Hilal earlier leading the race.

Ronaldo joined Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr in sensational manner on a 2-1/2 year contract recently, estimated to be worth more than 200 million euros.

The Portugal captain saw his contract with Manchester United get terminated due to a controversial interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan, where he criticised the club's hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag.

According to reports, both Al-Ittihad and Al-Hilal are willing to offer Messi as much as 310 million euros.

In the World Cup final, Argentina sealed a 4-2 win vs France in penalties after the match ended in a 3-3 draw in a thrilling final. In a closely-contested fixture, Argentina first took the lead in the 23rd-minute through Messi, who converted a penalty after Angel Di Maria was fouled in the French box. Then a quick counter-attack in the 36th-minute saw Alexis MacAllister assist Di Maria, who made it 2-0. In the second-half it looked like Argentina would march to an easy win but Kylian Mbappe had other plans and staged a comeback for France. The PSG striker levelled proceedings within 97 seconds. In the 80th-minute, he scored a penalty after Kolo Muani was brought down in the Argentine box. Then a stunning volley in the 81st-minute made it 2-2 for France.

In extra-time, both teams began to seek the winner and it looked like Argentina had secured a victory after Messi found the back of the net in the 108th-minute. But Mbappe came to his side's rescue once again and converted a penalty in the 118th-minute to make it 3-3. Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez came on top in the shootout to deny Aurelien Tchouameni and Kingsley Coman as Argentina sealed a 4-2 shootout victory.

Published by HT Digital Content Services with permission from Hindustan Times.


Copyright © HT Media Ltd.

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