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Barcelona fall behind Al-Hilal and Inter Miami in race to sign Messi



Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

The stocks of Saudi Arabian football saw a stark rise in January when Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Al-Nassr. The middle-east country hopes to buy its way to elite football, and the plan appears to be going well thus far.

Earlier today, Real Madrid confirmed that Karim Benzema would leave the club at the end of the campaign. It is known that the Ballon d’Or winner will join Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Professional League, making him their second big signing in less than a year.

According to reports from Pablo Gravellone, there is faith in Saudi Arabia that they can complete the signing of Lionel Messi and announce his arrival within the next week.

Their offer worth €500 million per year is seen as a difficult one for the PSG star to refute, although it comes with a steep 15-day deadline.

Al-Hilal’s offer to the Argentine is indeed tempting, but Messi reportedly sees beyond the financial element. The player has doubts about the level of football in Saudi Arabia, and the deal was said to have ‘gone cold’ last week.

The Arab club have thus decided to make one final push to secure the World Cup winner and are optimistic about their chances of landing him. A final decision from Messi’s side is expected in the next 48 hours.

On the outside, Messi’s future appears more uncertain than ever. Inter Miami are pushing hard to bring him to the MLS in June, while a return to Barcelona is not ruled out either. In the Catalans’ case, everything depends on La Liga’s approval of the economic viability plan.

The three primary contenders for the legend’s signature were joined earlier today by Newcastle United and Chelsea. Yet, Barcelona would be the former captain’s first choice if he were to stay in Europe.

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