Al-Hilal President Opens up On Why Lionel Messi Rejected €1.4 Billion Saudi Deal

Al-Hilal President Opens up On Why Lionel Messi Rejected €1.4 Billion Saudi Deal

Rene Otinga
updated at June 15, 2024 at 7:35 PM
In this article:
Lionel Messi logo
Inter Miami CF logoFArgentina logo
Inter Miami CF logo
Club Internacional de Futbol Miami
United States
Al-Hilal Saudi FC logo
Al-Hilal Saudi FC
Saudi Arabia
  • Lionel Messi could have become the highest-paid football player in the world if had accepted an offer from Saudi Arabia
  • The Argentine was heavily linked with a move to the Middle East after left Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain as a free agent
  • He ultimately opted to move to the United States, joining Major League Soccer side Inter Miami on a two-and-a-half-year deal

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Lionel Messi said no to one of the biggest offers in football when his contract at Paris Saint-Germain ended in 2023.

The 36-year-old was the subject of mass speculation after it emerged that he would not be signing a contract extension to stay in the French capital.

Lionel Messi, Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia, MLS
Lionel Messi could have easily become the highest-paid player in the world if he accepted an offer from Al-Hilal. Photo: Megan Briggs/Michael Regan.
Source: Getty Images

Some fans speculated that the Argentine would follow Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League, while others were hoping Messi would make an emotional return to his former club Barcelona for 'one last dance'.

Instead, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner moved to the United States to play for MLS side Inter Miami.

Al-Hilal president speaks

In 2023, football insider Fabrizio Romano reported that Al-Hilal was ready to offer Messi a mega contract for the superstar to move to the Middle East.

Al-Hilal president Anmar Al Haili confirmed the reports, adding that Messi turned down a staggering €1.4 billion.

He said, per SPORTbible, “We presented him with an offer of 1.4 billion euros, but the player refused because his family wanted America.”

“It was a surprise how the player could refuse such a huge offer for the sake of his family. It was possible to convince his family, but he did not hesitate to refuse.”
“We respect this, as family is more important than money "

Messi would have reunited with his former Barcelona teammate Neymar, if he had accepted the offer. Al-Hilal’s attack would have comprised the two former Barcelona stars alongside former Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic, who left the Premier League for Saudi Arabia after the 2022/2023 campaign.

How much does Messi earn at Inter Miami?

According to the MLS Players Association website, Messi receives a base salary of $10.4 million and an annual compensation of $20,446,667 million from his MLS deal.

His earnings are more than those of any other player in the MLS, and the figures go higher after factoring in revenue-sharing agreements with companies like Apple and Adidas.

How neighbours affected Lionel Messi’s performances

Elsewhere, Sports Brief reported on Lionel Messi’s account about neighbours when he was at Paris Saint-Germain.

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner made a sensational free transfer to PSG in 2021, after Barcelona were unable to renew his contract due to a salary cap.

After nearly a year since leaving PSG, Messi spoke candidly to ESPN Argentina as he explained why he struggled in the French capital.

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Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and