I almost followed Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia — Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo records

I almost followed Cristiano Ronaldo to Saudi Arabia — Lionel Messi

Faruq Ibrahim 22:38 - 06.12.2023

TIME Athlete of the Year Lionel Messi reveals he almost emulated Cristiano Ronaldo's move to the Saudi Pro League.

Inter Miami star Lionel Messi has revealed that he was close to following Cristiano Rinaldo’s footsteps in moving to the Saudi Professional League when it was clear his time at Paris Saint-Germain was over.

The 36-year-old was something of a hot commodity last summer, with Barcelona, Inter Miami and Al-Hilal all making concrete moves for him. The Argentinian opted for the move to the USA but now reveals he contemplated accepting the offer from the Gulf.

What Messi said

The father of three was recently named the TIME magazine Athlete of the Year, and in an interview with the renowned publication, he explained that a return to Barcelona was his first choice after leaving PSG before understanding a deal could not be offered at the time, given the club’s financial situation.

He explained that he also thought about the mega-money offer the Saudis were offering but, in the end, opted for Inter Miami’s deal.

In a special ceremony held at DRV PNK Stadium Inter Miami CF honored team captain Lionel Messi for winning his record-tying eighth Ballon d'Or. Instagram/Leo Messi
In a special ceremony held at DRV PNK Stadium Inter Miami CF honored team captain Lionel Messi for winning his record-tying eighth Ballon d'Or. Instagram/Leo Messi
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo r

“I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi League, where I know the country,” he told TIME, per the Sun.

"They have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future. As the country’s tourism ambassador, it was a destination that attracted me."

"My first option was to return to Barcelona, but it was not possible. I tried to return, and it did not happen."

Meanwhile, Luis Suárez is set to join Inter Miami on a one-year deal, marking a high-profile addition to the MLS and reuniting him with former teammate Lionel Messi.

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