“Saudi Pro League is open to any superstar,” Sporting director says the league ‘WELCOMES’ Lionel Messi to reignite rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi was close to joining Saudi Pro League before going to MLS.


“Saudi Pro League is open to any superstar,” Sporting director says the league ‘WELCOMES’ Lionel Messi to reignite rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared one of the most intense rivalries. (Images via Reuters and Sky Sports)

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have shared one of the most intense rivalries between players. The two players who were on the top of the world kept challenging each other for La Liga titles, most goals scored, Ballon d’or and what not. Sadly this rivalry which spanned 9 years ended as the Portuguese left Spain for Italy. 

After their first professional encounter, where Ronaldo scored twice, they only played each other once more. In that match, Ronaldo’s two goals eliminated FC Barcelona from the 2020/21 Champions League. They also had an exhibition game, facing a team with players from Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal.

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Reminiscing over the iconic rivalry, many fans wished the two would face off again and the Director of Football of the Saudi Premier League has said they will welcome Messi to the league. In an interview with The Guardian, Michael Emenalo said the league will always welcome any superstar to the SPL. 

The reasons that he ended up in MLS is something that I don’t have answers to. If he decides next season that he wants to come here, we will be happy to welcome him. If he wants to stay in MLS, we will be very, very happy for him. The Saudi Pro League is open for business to any superstar that wants to come.
Michael Emenalo

Messi received offers from the Saudi league after his departure from PSG, but he rejected it to move to Inter Miami instead. Along with the $20 Million he earns early, he has been assured a stake in Inter Miami and earns money via a deal with Apple, who broadcasts the MLS. 

What next for Lionel Messi? 

Lionel Messi will join Inter Miami for the 2024 Major League Soccer season. Despite missing the playoffs in 2023, they secured the Leagues Cup. In February, the team will play two friendlies in Hong Kong and possibly participate in the Riyadh Cup, reuniting Messi with Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi’s contract with the MLS club lasts until 2025, raising questions about a potential departure.

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Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi gears up for the 2024 Major League Soccer (Image via Sky Sports)

Inter Miami are also rumored to be signing former FC Barcelona striker, Luis Suraez, who currently plays for Brazilian Club Gremio. Along with that, they were rumored to Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. Eden Hazard and Sergio Ramos were also linked, but Hazard retired and Ramos returned to Sevilla.

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