Lionel Messi: Saudi Pro League Director Opens Door to Inter Miami Star if He Leaves MLS

Lionel Messi: Saudi Pro League Director Opens Door to Inter Miami Star if He Leaves MLS

Elijah Odetokun
updated at December 8, 2023 at 7:59 AM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
  • Lionel Messi turned down a move to Saudi Arabia to join Inter Miami
  • He looks forward to a first full season with the MLS franchise in 2024
  • The Saudi Pro League are open to having him whenever he exits Miami

The Saudi Pro League still retains some hope Lionel Messi could still play in the league whenever he leaves Inter Miami and are open to welcoming him in the future.

Messi left European football in July when he left Paris Saint-Germain and it was difficult for him to return to his former club, FC Barcelona, due to financial issues at the club.

Lionel Messi, Charlotte FC, Inter Miami, Soldier Field, MLS.
Lionel Messi played his final MLS 2023 game against Charlotte FC in a 1-0 loss. Photo by David Jensen.
Source: Getty Images

Per FourFourTwo, he turned down Al-Hilal’s offer, reportedly worth €500 million per season, to move to North America where he currently earns $54mil.

Saudi Arabia opens door to Messi

Messi has two years left on his Inter Miami contract, by the end of which he will be 38 years old, but Saudi Pro League football director, Michael Emenalo is not ruling out having him switch to the Middle East.

In an interview with the Guardian, as quoted by Sportskeeda, the former Chelsea director claimed he has no answers to how the Argentine veteran did not end up in the SPL.

"The reasons that [Messi] ended up in MLS is something that I don't have answers to. If he decides next season that he wants to come here, we will be happy to welcome him. If he wants to stay in MLS, we will be very, very happy for him,” he said.

Messi was not the only player who turned down lucrative moves to the Gulf state; seven of his Argentina national teammates, including Paulo Dybala and Leandro Paredes, opted against offers from the Arab country.

Other top European stars also rejected approaches from the Saudis, such as Sergio Ramos, Romelu Lukaku, and others.

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Messi admits he considered Saudi Arabia

Sports Brief reported on Messi admitting to Saudi Arabia's attraction, which could have reunited him with Cristiano Ronaldo, who joined Al-Nassr this January.

His decision to go to the USA prompted the Portuguese star to claim the rivalry between the two was over after they both ended their time in European football.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.