20230202 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi Image Credit: Reuters

Saudi Arabia is preparing to offer football star Lionel Messi a $400 million annual contract to play with the Saudi Pro League this summer, the Telegraph reported.

The deal, which is being negotiated by Messi's father, would far exceed the more than $200 million deal Cristiano Ronaldo signed to play in Saudi Arabia until the summer of 2025.

The Argentine World Cup champion was suspended on Tuesday by his current club Paris Saint-Germain for two weeks after traveling to Saudi Arabia without permission from the organisation. Messi had previously agreed to a deal in principle to stay with PSG, but following the disciplinary action, he will not renew his contract, BBC reported.

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The signing is the latest move by Saudi Arabia to upend the world of professional sports. In addition to the recent signing of Ronaldo, the country has financed the LIV Golf league and its sovereign wealth fund purchased Premier League club Newcastle United.