Just this past winter, Saudi Pro League club Al Nassr signed Cristiano Ronaldo to an eye-watering contract as the 38-year-old looks to wind down his career.
You think that’s a lot of money? Lionel Messi is laughing.
The Argentine superstar reportedly had an utterly outlandish amount of money dangled in his face by one of Al Nassr’s top rivals, which could potentially pit the two against each other in Saudi league play down the road.
With Messi able to exit his PSG contract at the end of this season, here’s a look at just how insane the options currently on the table are for one of the greatest to ever step on a pitch.
Al Hilal offer Lionel Messi mega contract
According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal have sent Lionel Messi an obscene contract offer of over €400 million ($438 million / £350 million) per year.
🚨 Understand Al Hilal sent an official bid to Leo Messi: salary worth more than €400m/year.— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) April 4, 2023
◉ 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
Yet according to Romano, Messi’s priority is to continue playing in a top European league, which would allow him to gun for more Champions League glory. Messi has not won the top European continental club competition since the 2014/15 season with Barcelona.
The following day, ESPN journalist Mark Ogden reported that Messi is seriously considering the Al Hilal offer, going so far as to say that the option is a “50/50” at this point, seemingly swayed by a meeting with the Saudi club back in March. They had previously reported that an extension with PSG is increasingly unlikely after recent talks broke down.
Cristiano Ronaldo salary in Saudi Arabia
While Lionel Messi ponders whether to accept this incredible contract offer, Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying life in the Saudi Pro League already.
According to multiple reports, Ronaldo is being paid around $213 million (£173 million) a year by Al Nassr. Notably, only a fraction of this relates to him actually playing football with his image rights and commercial deals reportedly funding more than half of his total earnings in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi government were also expected to help pay for Ronaldo’s wages as they use the Portugal star in their bid to jointly host the 2030 World Cup — something Al Nassr have since denied.
Ronaldo has scored 11 goals already in nine Saudi Pro League games, helping Al Nassr to a title challenge as they jockey with Al Ittihad and Messi’s presumed admirers Al Hilal.
Who is highest paid player in sports today?
In terms of yearly salary, Ronaldo’s contract with Al Nassr is the richest in sports history, beating Lionel Messi’s current PSG deal to the mark.
While Messi’s deal with PSG will see him earn more money over time than Ronaldo — $674 million compared to $536 million — the Portugal star’s yearly wage is $46 million more than Messi’s.
After those two global icons, NFL player Patrick Mahomes has the next richest contract courtesy of a 10-year deal that will see him earn $503 million. Boxer Canelo Alvarez has the next best annual salary after Ronaldo and Messi, with his five-year contract with DAZN seeing him pocket $73m each year.
Matthew Stafford and Josh Allen were the two highest-paid NFL players in 2022 in terms of pure salary earnings, coming in at over $60 million per year, according to Forbes.