Al Hilal looking to link Messi and Ighalo, renew Ronaldo rivalry – report
Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal are reportedly attempting to sign Argentine forward Lionel Messi to bolster their attacking force, which Nigeria’s Odion Ighalo presently leads.
According to transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano, the Saudi champions sent an official bid to Messi that includes a salary worth more than €400m a year.
🚨 Understand Al Hilal sent an official bid to Leo Messi: salary worth more than €400m/year.
◉ Leo’s absolute priority: continue in Europe.
◉ Barcelona, waiting on FFP to send bid and open talks.
◉ PSG bid, not accepted at this stage as Messi wanted sporting guarantees. pic.twitter.com/FVTDGs4eQV
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 4, 2023
However, Messi’s priority is to continue playing in Europe, and he is waiting for offers from clubs in the region.
Barcelona are reportedly interested in bringing the playmaking genius back to the club and are waiting on Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations to send a bid and open talks.
Paris Saint-Germain have also made an offer for Messi to stay in France, but it has not been accepted yet, as the player wants certain sporting guarantees.
Messi, Ronaldo, Ighalo
It remains to be seen whether Al Hilal’s bid can convince Messi to move to the Saudi Arabian top flight.
If they are able to lure Messi to Asia, it will spark back to life his rivalry with an old nemesis.
Al Hilal’s rivals, Al Nassr, have already made a splash by bringing Messi’s eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, to the league.
Ronaldo has been in fine form for Al Nassr, scoring ten goals so far, including a penalty in their recent clash against Al Adalah on Tuesday night.
To outshine Ronaldo, Messi will need help, and it could certainly come from 2019 Africa Cup of Nations goal-king Odion Ighalo.
Ighalo is Al Hilal’s current top scorer, and he has enjoyed an excellent season, netting 15 goals in the league. No one in the top flight has scored more.
The former Super Eagles striker was the top scorer in the Saudi Pro League last season with 24 goals as Al Hilal secured a record 18th championship title.
Pairing Ighalo with Messi would make Al Hilal’s attack one of the most fearsome in the league, making the Blue Waves the favourites for the title next season.
The current campaign, though, appears to have slipped out of Al Hilal’s grip.
Despite Ighalo’s brilliant form, Al Hilal currently trail league leaders Al Ittihad by eight points and Ronaldo’s Al Nassr by seven points, although they have played one game fewer.
Adding Messi to their squad could, however, prove to be a game-changer for Al Hilal next term.
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