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07th Jun 2023

Lionel Messi explains why he turned down Saudi Arabia move

Callum Boyle

Lionel Messi

Messi confirmed his move to Inter Miami on Wednesday

Lionel Messi revealed that a move to Saudi Arabia seemed like “a lot of money” after signing for Inter Miami.

Messi announced his decision on Wednesday, bringing and end to a glittering career in Europe after a decorated spell at Barcelona before leaving on a free due to financial problems to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2021.

The 35-year-old had also been heavily tipped to move to Saudi Arabia, with Al Hilal reportedly willing to offer him £4bn to join and apparently even made a last-ditch attempt to persuade the World Cup winner to change his mind, which had already been made up by that point.

Saudi Arabia has seen a string of heavyweights join the league in the last six months. Names such as Crisitano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema have already joined while N’Golo Kanté is set to follow suit. Moves for the likes of Wilfried Zaha have also been made.

The forward is also a tourism ambassador for the state and it is believed that they wanted Messi to join and link up with Ronaldo and Benzema – as well as any other big-name arrivals – to be the face of their 2030 World Cup bid.

Explaining why he opted to make the move to the MLS, Messi said that money played no role in where he wanted his future to lie.

Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, he said: “If it had been a matter of money, I’d have gone to [Saudi] Arabia or elsewhere. It seemed like a lot of money to me.

“The truth is that my final decision goes elsewhere and not because of money.”

He then added that he had spoken to Barcelona about a potential reunion. “I really wanted to return to Barça, I had that dream,” he said.

“But after what happened two years ago, I did not want to be in the same situation again, leaving my future in the hands of someone else…”

It’s unclear when Messi will make his debut for his new side.

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