Lionel Messi Is On The Verge Of Signing An Utterly Surreal Saudi Contract

Last week the sports news rumor mill buzzed with an absolutely wild claim about the future of Lionel Messi. According to the rumor, Mr. Messi was ready to ditch his current team, Paris Saint-Germain, and sign an unimaginably large contract with an unnamed Saudi Pro League team.

According to the rumor one week ago, Lionel’s proposed Saudi contract would pay him $400 million PER YEAR. That’s not a typo.

Not only would that be the largest sports contract in history, $400 million per year would roughly double the contract Cristiano Ronaldo signed in December 2022 to join a Saudi team. At the time, Ronaldo’s $200+ million contract was considered mind-bogglingly-unprecedented.

So $400 million had to have been fake news, right? Well, apparently it was at least partially fake/inaccurate. But not in the way you are thinking.

Messi’s unimaginably large rumored contract has somehow gotten even more unimaginably large.

$1.1 Billion

According to the latest rumor, Lionel Messi is on the verge of signing a two year contract with a still-unnamed Saudi team. The total value of the contract over those two years is reportedly $1.1 billion. That would work out to an annual salary of …

$550 million

Messi has apparently had meetings with three Saudi Pro League teams: Al Nassr, Al Hilal and Al Ittihad. He also has apparently met directly with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the oil-rich nation’s sovereign wealth fund that controls around $650 billion in assets and is the primary backer of the Saudi Pro League.

If he signed with Al Nassr, that would make him teammates with Ronaldo. I have no idea if that’s good or bad. It wouldn’t exactly seem fair for the other teams though, right?

MLS Offer

Lionel has a little under two months left in his Paris Saint-Germain contract. He has made it clear he will not re-sign with the team under any circumstance. He also essentially can not sign with what is likely his preferred team, his former longtime home club Barcelona. Barcelona is not an option due to league contract and salary cap regulations.

There is one other non-Saudi option for Messi.

The David Beckham-owned MLS team Inter Miami is reportedly preparing the 35-year-old an offer that would include a substantial amount of equity in the team.

However, I’m not sure how attractive that offer will be in comparison to making $1.1 billion for two years of work. I mean, how much would equity in an MLS team ultimately be worth in the best, best, best case scenario? A couple hundred thousand dollars? If you offered me “substantial equity” in an MLS team or a mystery prize behind door #2, I go mystery prize every time.

Seriously though. After taxes, let’s say Messi banks $600 million after playing in Saudi Arabia for two years (which btw, would require him to play a total of just 60 games!). And let’s say Miami offered him 30% ownership. Miami would need to eventually be worth more than $2 billion for Messi’s stake to be worth $600 million. Is that gonna happen? Miami is apparently worth around $500 million today, but even that feels like an optimistic exaggeration.

What do you think Messi should/will do?

Lionel Messi Is On The Verge Of Signing An Utterly Surreal Saudi Contract

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