Lionel Messi has received an eye-catchingly lucrative contract from Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal – but his next club could be decided by his wife Antonela Roccuzzo
Lionel Messi is considering a lucrative offer from Al-Hilal, but his decision over whether to cash in and move to Saudi Arabia could be influenced by his wife.
Messi is readying himself to leave Paris Saint-Germain when his contract expires at the end of June following a fallout with the club. He was suspended by PSG last week after taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia, where he is a tourism ambassador.
The 35-year-old has since apologised to the club and has begun training by himself, but his bridges are burned and a fresh start awaits him this summer. He has plenty of offers on the table, with former club Barcelona, MLS side Inter Miami and Al-Hilal all vying for his service
Al-Hilal willing to pay him a staggering £369million-per-year and he would go head-to-head with long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia were he to move. Reports in France say Al-Hilal have also made offers to sign Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Marco Verratti, just to show Messi their commitment to the project.
All of that wooing might be immaterial, though, because L’Equipe reports that his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, is not sold on the Saudi move. She is reportedly reluctant to relocate to the Middle East with the couple’s three young sons and would prefer to stay in Europe.
Messi is stalling on making a decision for the time being, but his strong connection with Barcelona perhaps makes them favourites. Barca president Joan Laporta recently met with Messi’s father Jorge and is working hard to bring him back to Spain.
Messi has contributed 31 goals and 34 assists in 71 games for PSG over his two seasons, but the club are now changing direction following another disappointing failure in the Champions League. The World Cup winner will be allowed to leave, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi keen to pursue a project which is based around young, French player.
That desire was strengthened by Messi’s ill-advised trip to Saudi Arabia, which went down very badly at the club. Messi issued a grovelling apology via social media, but his race in Paris is run.
“Hello. Well, I wanted to make this video after everything that’s going on,” he said in a video. “First of all, I apologise again to my team-mates at the club. I honestly thought that we were going to have the day off after the game as we had done before.
“I had organised this trip to Saudi Arabia, which I had previously cancelled and I couldn’t go. Once again, I apologise for what I did. So here I am, waiting to see what the club wants to do, nothing more. A hug.”