Ligue 1

Lionel Messi admits to being tempted by Saudi Arabia proposal

After his first season in American football, Messi was elected Athlete of the Year by Time magazine. The prestigious American publication, which also conducts a traditional election for Personality of the Year, named the Argentine as the most relevant athlete of 2023.

The award was created by Time in 2019, as a parallel election to the one that elects the Personality of the Year. In the first year of the trophy, the United States women’s national football team was elected together. The award serves to recognize the highlights of sport in the United States.

In the following years, basketball player LeBron James, gymnast Simone Biles, and baseball player Aaron Judge have won the award. Now Lionel Messi joins these legends in winning the Athlete of the Year title.

Messi took the trophy in his MLS debut season, when he played in just 14 official matches for Inter Miami, but scored 11 goals and led the team to win the Leagues Cup, in a tournament against Mexican teams. The club, however, missed out on the MLS playoffs.

Lionel Messi was swayed by an Arab proposal

In an interview with the magazine after the election, Messi commented on the decision to go play in American football, defending Inter Miami, a club controlled by David Beckham. According to the Argentine, his destination was almost another.

And, when commenting again that the choice was made with the family, he revealed that he was swayed by a proposal from Saudi Arabia, after not being able to return to Barcelona. The star even visited the Arab country to meet with his family.

The Argentine had in his hands a proposal to receive more than €400 million (R$2.2 billion) per season at Al-Hilal. Despite not confirming the values, the star confirmed that he was approached by the Arabs. Without Lionel Messi, the club went after Neymar and signed him from PSG.

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