Barcelona or Al-Hilal? Clear frontrunner emerges as Messi ‘seduced’ by offer

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 24 May 2023 09:46 BST
  • 4 min read
Lionel Messi, Barcelona, Al-Hilal

Lionel Messi’s future in the summer transfer window is gradually becoming clearer, with the 35-year-old attacker set to leave PSG when his contract expires at the end of June.

The two main clubs vying for his signature are Barcelona and Al-Hilal, with both offering very different opportunities.

Barca’s project is purely a sporting one while that in the Saudi Pro League reportedly offers Messi the opportunity to earn €1 billion over two years – giving him the richest sporting contract the world has ever seen and offering him the opportunity to go head-to-head with long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo once more.

MORE: Ronaldo's next rivals? Al-Hilal eye Chelsea and Liverpool legends

Jorge Messi to make call on Leo's future

According to a report from Catalan television Beteve, it will be Jorge Messi who ultimately makes the call on his son’s future with Leo unwilling to go against his father’s wishes.

Unfortunately for Barcelona, this means that sentiment is not involved in the decision-making process which will boil purely down to money.

As reported by the source: “The economic stakes imposed by Jorge Messi will take precedence over the purely sporting and sentimental desire of the Argentine footballer.”

Jorge, who acts as his son’s agent, is reported “seduced” by the offer from Saudi Arabia.

MORE: Mbappe to Man Utd or Liverpool is ON after contract revelation

Jorge Messi will decide Leo's future

Jorge Messi will decide Leo's future

The same report indicates that the possibility of a return to Barcelona is “almost ruled out”, despite the Catalan side getting the green light from LaLiga from a financial perspective to complete a deal to sign the PSG star.

Xavi, head coach of the Primera Division champions, has already dropped a hint that Messi might be beyond Barca’s grasp this summer. During a press conference earlier this week, he claimed that the future of the World Cup winner relied on the player’s desire to return to Camp Nou. These words seem to carry more weight in light of this latest report.

Leo, who has scored 20 goals and created 20 more in 39 appearances for PSG this season, “does not want to contradict any will of his father , a figure for whom he has absolute respect”.

The tendency is, then, for Messi to rekindle his Ronaldo rivalry in the Saudi Pro League rather than make a romantic return to Barcelona.