Cristiano Ronaldo stunned football fans around the world with a sensational move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on a two-and-a-half-year deal recently, estimated to be worth more than €200 million. The 37-year-old had his contract terminated by Manchester United after a controversial interview with broadcaster Piers Morgan, in which he criticized the club’s hierarchy and manager Erik ten Hag.
This draw closed the curtain on any other Champions League match between Ronaldo and his arch-rival Lionel Messi, who is currently at PSG. Although the pair will meet in a friendly as part of PSG’s mid-season tour, where they will take on the Saudi all-star XI made up of players from Al-Hilal and Al Nassr on January 19.
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Now it looks like the 35-year-old could join Al Nassr’s main rivals, Al Hilal, who would be willing to offer him a huge salary of as much as €279m a year. Furthermore, Messi’s position as Saudi tourism ambassador could further help Al Hilal in his negotiations for the Argentina captain. In addition, his contract with PSG will expire in the summer.
The former Barcelona captain led to 2022 FIFA World Cup glory in Qatar last year, defeating France on penalties to clinch the trophy. For his performances in Qatar, he also received the Ballon d’Or award, a stark contrast to Ronaldo, who was on the bench for his team’s round of 16 and quarterfinal matches.
On his return to PSG, Messi scored in his first match against Angers, capping off a collective play in a 2-0 win. Apart from Messi’s goal in the 72nd minute, Hugo Ekitike opened the scoring in the 5th minute in Paris. If Al Hilal get Messi to sign for him, it could be a huge commercial boost for the club and Saudi football in general. Also, the Al Hilal vs Al Nassr match could have record audiences due to a possible clash between Messi and Ronaldo.