Lionel Messi Promotes Saudi Arabia Ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo Potential Clash in Riyadh

Lionel Messi Promotes Saudi Arabia Ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo Potential Clash in Riyadh

Martin Moses
updated at April 22, 2024 at 2:11 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
L.Messi
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Cristiano Ronaldo logo
C. Ronaldo
Al Nassr FC logoFPortugal logo
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
27
Al Nassr FC logo
Al Nassr
Saudi Arabia
32
Saudi Arabia logo
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
23
  • Lionel Messi's deal with Saudi Arabia as their tourism ambassador remains intact
  • Messi snubbed a move to the Saudi Pro League, choosing to move to the MLS instead
  • Messi could face Cristiano Ronaldo's Al-Nassr in a friendly game on February 1

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Lionel Messi has continued to promote Saudi Arabia on his Instagram page despite snubbing the country's league last year.

Messi was approached with a couple of hefty offers to move to the Middle East after his two-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain lapsed.

Lionel Messi, Al-Nassr, Inter Miami, Saudi Arabia, Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi during his unveiling as a new Inter Miami player on July 16, 2023. Photo by Giorgio Viera.
Source: Getty Images

Apart from the offers of the Gulf State, there were also rumours of a potential return to Barcelona before the Argentine settled on moving North to Inter Miami.

Saudi Arabia had targeted the World Cup-winning star as part of its continuing plans to revitalize the league. They had already managed to successfully lure his main rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, before several top shots, including Messi's former teammate, Neymar, followed in the summer.

Messi's Saudi Arabia message

Despite the snub to move to the Major League Soccer, Messi has remained an ambassador of the country. The eight-time Ballon d'Or winner is currently in Saudi Arabia ahead of a couple of preseason friendlies, including against Ronaldo's Al-Nassr.

In partnership with Visit Saudi, Messi uploaded a video showing some of the tourist attractions in the oil-rich state.

"If you also visited @VisitSaudi recently, share your experience and what you liked the most."

Messi as Saudi Arabia's ambassador

In 2023, Sports Brief reported that Messi got into a deal with Saudi Arabia to become their tourism ambassador as they try to market themselves as a sporting destination.

The government has made significant inroads in major sports in recent times, including the LIV Golf Tour, the Newcastle United takeover and the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix in Formula 1.

Part of the plan was using the 36-year-old's influence to win the hosting rights of the 2023 World Cup, which has since been awarded to six countries. Saudi Arabia, however, remains in the running to host the 2034 edition.

Authors
Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)