Barcelona are reportedly not leading the race to land Lionel Messi this summer as the bookies have named 'any Saudi club' as favorite to sign the Argentine. Al Hilal have tabled an offer, while MLS side Inter Miami are also in the running.
As per the latest odds on Betfair, Messi moving to Saudi Arabia is the most likely outcome this summer. They are giving fans 8/11 odds for any Saudi side to land the 35-year-old after he leaves PSG.
The Ligue 1 side have already confirmed that the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner will be leaving at the end of the season. They had the option to extend the deal by another season, but the FIFA World Cup winner has decided that he wants to leave.
Barcelona are second in the chase for Messi, as per the bookies. The Catalan side have been slapped with 11/8 odds as the Argentine's next club, while MLS side Inter Miami come third with 5/1.
Betfair have interestingly given odds for Messi not joining any side this summer and priced it at 7/1. Pep Guardiola's Manchester City tried to sign the Argentine in 2021, and they have been added to the race at 12/1 odds.
Lionel Messi to move to Saudi Arabia instead of Barcelona?
The odds are very likely a result of the comments made by Saudi Minister of Sports, Abdelaziz Al-Faisal. He claimed that Lionel Messi and Karim Benzema were heading to the Middle East this summer and it was just a matter of official announcements.
He was quoted by The Madrid Zone as saying:
"Benzema and Messi to Saudi Arabia? Wait for the official announcements from the clubs. The clubs will announce in due time."
However, Al-Hilal president, Fahad Bin Saad Bin Nafel, refused to comment on the situation. He was repeatedly quizzed by the media and GOAL quoted him as saying:
"Do not ask me about Messi, I will not give any news. If something official comes out you will find it in the press department."
Lionel Messi's father and agent, Jorge, has rebuffed recent claims that the Argentine had a deal in place to join Al-Hilal. He released a statement that read:
"There's absolutely nothing agreed with any club for next season. We will decide at the end of the season. Nothing is signed, agreed or verbally agreed. Only fake news using Leo's name."
Karim Benzema was heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. However, Marca have reported that the Frenchman is set to stay at Real Madrid for another season.