Lionel Messi’s father, Jorge Messi denied reports of the 35-year-old agreeing to sign a lucrative contract to play in Saudi Arabia next year.
“There’s absolutely nothing agreed with any club for next season,” Jorge Messi, who also represents his son, said. “We will decide at the end of the season. Nothing is signed, agreed or verbally agreed. Only fake news using Leo’s name.”
Earlier, a Saudi source close to the negotiations told AFP that the deal was agreed on lucrative terms.
“The contract is exceptional. It is huge. We are still finalising some details,” the source added, without revealing the name of the club concerned.
Messi is already under contract with Visit Saudi and frequently promotes the Kingdom’s tourist destinations.
The 35-year-old was recently suspended by his current club Paris Saint-Germain for visiting Saudi Arabia, missing the club’s training.
Messi apologised to his teammates and the club following his suspension and is now back in training for the league leaders.
When contacted by journalists, PSG stated that Messi’s contract runs until June 30.
According to Fabrizio Romano, Messi will honour the end of his contract as planned and will only decide on his future at the end of the football season.
Recent reports have put Saudi club Al-Hilal at the front of the race to sign the World Champion with an offer valued at €400 million per year.
Messi’s transfer to Saudi Arabia will pit him against Cristiano Ronaldo once again, after sharing a longstanding rivalry. The Portuguese attacker is currently with Al Nassr after arriving from Manchester United last December.
“The negotiations did not take as long as with Ronaldo,” said the Saudi source, adding that as with the latter, the financial package came from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund (PIF).