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Messi and former Spanish coach Enrique are close to seal deal with Al-Hilal


May 9, 2023
Messi and former Spanish coach Enrique are close to seal deal with Al-Hilal


Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH , Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal is close to seal deal with former Spanish and Barcelona coach Luis Enrique. This move is coinciding with approaching the clinching of the historic deal with Lionel Messi, the football legend and captain of World Cup Champions Argentina, according to well-informed sources.

Messi will consider a £320m-a-year megadeal from the Riyadh club when he leaves PSG this summer and his old Barcelona team-mates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba are also possibly heading to the Middle East, according to a report published by Daily Mail. Messi will concentrate on PSG for now and make a decision in the summer, it is reported.

Enrique is one of the major options of Al-Hilal to pick as its coach. He is one of the coaches who achieved Barcelona under Messi’s five-year captaincy. Messi is considered as the first and most preferred choice for Al-Hilal to sign a deal with him during the coming summer. Messi’s mission is to bring Al-Hilal back to the top of the Saudi Professional League and re-establish it as a dominant force in continental Asian football.

The offer from Al-Hilal worth around £320 million a year has been on the table for over a month; yet he is in no rush to accept it. Instead Messi is concentrating on the season’s finale with Paris Saint-Germain, despite his current two-week suspension, and wants to end the campaign with the French league title.

Messi’s father jorge horatio messi has already informed PSG he does not wish to accept their offer for another year’s contract as he remains unconvinced about their sporting project. Barcelona and Inter Miami hold strong interest but in Barca’s case they have yet to clear the financial hurdles necessary to bring their former idol back to the Camp Nou stadium.

The Okaz/Saudi Gazette had indicated last month that Jorge, Messi’s father and business agent, had inspected the residence in Riyadh, in preparation for arranging accommodation of his son in the Saudi capital.

Messi is already a tourism ambassador for Saudi Arabia, and it was an unauthorized visit to Riyadh last week that hastened his exit from the PSG. Messi, wife Antonela Roccuzzo and children Ciro and Mateo were photographed enjoying attractions in the capital Riyadh and Diriyah during their visit.

PSG’s players had a scheduled day off on Monday but following their 3–1 defeat to Lorient the previous day, manager Christophe Galtier ordered them in for extra training. Messi, however, was already in transit to Saudi Arabia and wasn’t able to turn back.

Because the trip was not sanctioned by Galtier, nor by sporting director Luis Campos, PSG suspended Messi for 15 days and also docked some of his wages. On Friday, Messi apologized in a social media message to the club and his teammates for missing the training session. “I thought we were going to have a day off after the game as always. I had this trip organized and I couldn’t cancel it. I had already canceled it before… I apologize to my teammates and I’m waiting for what the club wants to do with me,” Messi began in the 39-second clip shared onto his Instagram story.


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