An Arab club wants to borrow Messi after Inter Miami failed to qualify for the MLS playoffs. This move could potentially reignite the rivalry between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
A Lengthy Off-Season for Messi
Lionel Messi is looking at an extended off-season as Inter Miami’s playoff hopes in the MLS have been dashed. Inter Miami currently sits at 14th place in the Eastern Conference standings with 33 points. They are mathematically out of contention for a playoff spot, as they are trailing DC United, who have secured 40 points and hold the ninth position, which is the cutoff for playoff qualification.
With only two matches remaining in the regular MLS season, Inter Miami’s maximum possible point tally for the season stands at 39 points. Their remaining fixtures include two encounters against Charlotte on October 19 and 22. Following these matches, Messi is likely to face an extended period of inactivity, as Inter Miami won’t be in action again until the next season, which kicks off in February 2024.
This scenario opens the possibility of Messi being loaned to another club before the start of the next MLS season. One party keen on securing Messi on loan is a club from Saudi Arabia.
Arab Saudi’s Interest in Messi
Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman, through the Public Investment Fund (PIF), currently owns four clubs in the Saudi Arabian League: Al Nassr, Al Hilal, Al Ittihad, and Al Ahli. These clubs have been notable in the transfer market for their acquisitions of European stars.
Al Hilal had reportedly made an offer to Messi last summer, but he ultimately chose to move to Inter Miami. However, Al Hilal seems keen on revisiting the possibility of securing Messi on loan.
If Messi were to move to the Saudi Arabian League, it would set the stage for a renewed rivalry between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Currently, Ronaldo is playing for Al Nassr, another club owned by the Saudi Arabian PIF.
Reviving the Messi-Ronaldo Rivalry
The Messi-Ronaldo rivalry initially flourished in La Liga when both players represented Barcelona and Real Madrid. They also competed head-to-head for the Ballon d’Or, with Ronaldo securing five Ballon d’Or trophies and Messi surpassing him with seven.
Should Messi join the Saudi Arabian League, football enthusiasts worldwide might once again be treated to the intense competition and remarkable performances that defined the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry.
While the details of Messi’s future remain uncertain, the prospect of seeing him in new surroundings and potentially renewing his rivalry with Ronaldo is an enticing storyline that has fans eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the careers of two of the sport’s greatest icons.