According to the New York Times, Lionel Messi has agreed to become a testimonial of tourism in Saudi Arabia, receiving 25 million dollars in exchange. To collect this figure, the soccer star former Barcelona and PSG will only have to visit the Saudi Kingdom once or twice a year and keep silent about the violation of human rights.
The country would like to host FIFA World Cup 2030, and there are many rumors regarding the violation of workers' human rights. As has already happened in Qatar, with employees in the construction of roads and infrastructures subjected to exhausting work shifts and without any physical protection, and very low salaries.
The New York Times would have seen a document dated January 1, 2021 and signed by Leo Messi and his brother Rodrigo, but not by Saudi officials. It is probably a draft, however very close to the final contract, given that Messi subsequently acted in line with what was written on those sheets.
The Argentinian champion will earn $2 million for a five-day vacation in Arabia a year or, alternatively, for two annual vacations of three days each, an additional $2 million to promote Saudi Arabia on social media 10 times a year, and not when he's on holiday in those parts and an additional 2 million to participate in an annual tourism campaign, such as the video in the desert shot last November.
Messi will not play FIFA World Cup 2026
Messi should not play the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This was announced by the Argentine number 10 himself, next to play in MLS, for Inter Miami, and to begin his new experience in MLS after two disappointing years at PSG.
Messi said in an interview with the Titan Sports portal: "The one in Qatar was my last World Cup. I'll see how things go, but at the moment this is my decision." Messi has announced that at the end of his current contract with Paris Saint-Germain, which expires on June 30, he will go to play in the United States for Inter Miami.
He will therefore not go to Barcelona, as many had speculated, nor to the Saudi football league, as many other great players of a certain age are choosing to do lately.