Saudi Pro League director says he would happily welcome Lionel Messi into the league if he decides to leave Inter Miami

Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia in the future?
Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia in the future?

Saudi Pro League’s sporting director Michael Emenalo has opened the doors for Lionel Messi to join them in the Middle East next season. Emenalo did not want to get into the reasons the Argentine picked MLS over them last summer but is happy for the Inter Miami star.

Speaking to The Guardian, Emenalo said that the league had not shut its doors for Messi despite the forward rejecting a move last summer. Al Hilal were reportedly willing to break the bank and offer the Argentine a whopping €500 million per season.

However, he opted to join Inter Miami in the MLS and move away from Europe. Emenalo told The Guardian that they are ready to wait for Messi to make his decision next season, saying:

"The reasons that he [Lionel Messi] 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."

When asked if the league was willing to spend big once again and get more superstars in, he said:

"The Saudi Pro League is open for business to any superstar that wants to come. If there is an indication that there is an opening and any of the superstars that you know and I know says, 'We are interested in coming to this league', we will work very very hard to bring them in."

Cristiano Ronaldo joining the Saudi Pro League after a mutual termination of contract at Manchester United opened the doors for several stars to follow him at the end of the 2022/23 season. N'Golo Kante, Karim Benzema, and Roberto Firmino were a few of the stars who moved to the Middle East after their contracts expired.

Lionel Messi confirmed he was thinking about a move to Saudi Arabia

Lionel Messi spoke to TIME magazine earlier this month and admitted that he did think about the possibility of joining a Saudi Arabian side. He added that they have created a good competition in the Middle East and that it could be an important league in the future.

He said:

"I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi league. I know the country and they have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future."

He added:

“As the country’s tourism ambassador, it was a destination that attracted me, especially because I’ve enjoyed everything I have visited, because of how football is growing in the country and because of the effort they are putting into creating a top competition. It was Saudi Arabia or MLS, and both options seemed very interesting to me."

Lionel Messi moved to Inter Miami in the summer after his contract at PSG expired. He helped them win their first silverware and also guided them to the US Open Cup final, but failed to get them into the MLS playoff.

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Edited by Parag Jain