Lionel Messi, according to Forbes, is the world’s second highest paid
sportsman, earning some US$130 million from on and off field
But that might not be enough for Messi, knowing that his rival
Christian Ronaldo earns US$136 million from soccer and sponsorships, and
is already playing for the Al-Nassr team in Saudi Arabia where, it is
speculated, Messi will end up.
There are good reasons for that. Messi is Saudi Arabia’s tourism
ambassador, and it was in that capacity that he toured Saudi with his
family last week, when he should have been training with his French
club, Paris St-Germain (PSG).
The 35-year-old World Cup winning captain was immediately suspended
by PSG, yet that might give Messi more time to negotiate a contract with
the Saudi Pro League worth a reported, eye-watering US$350 million a
season, making him the highest paid player in football. Sorry, Ronaldo.
Back to Messi’s controversial trip to Saudi Arabia to promote tourism.
Messi and family at VIA Riyadh, the Saudi capital’s new luxury destination.
Along with his family, Messi visited several historic sites, along
with the Arabian Horse Museum and a farm experience. He also spent time
in Riyadh’s entertainment and retail district, VIA Riyadh, which is
touted to become one of the world’s premier luxury destinations,
featuring upscale fashion brands, international and homegrown
restaurants, and seven private, themed cinemas.
All in all, the Saudis were very happy with the visit, but not so much when Paris St-Germain is concerned.