Lionel Messi will play in Saudi Arabia next season, agreeing to a lucrative contract, a source told AFP on Tuesday.
The departure of the Argentinian star to Saudi Arabia is “a done deal,” said the source on condition of anonymity.
“The contract is exceptional. It is huge. We are still finaliaing 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.
“If the club had wanted to renew his contract, it would have been done earlier,” a source at the Parisian club said.
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).