Football

I was shocked Messi didn’t go to Saudi Arabia, says Odion Ighalo

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Former Manchester United and Al Hilal forward Odion Ighalo expressed shock at Lionel Messi’s decision to choose Inter Miami over a move to the Saudi Professional League.

There’s been a number of high-profile transfers from Europe to Saudi Arabia – first with Cristiano Ronaldo leaving Man United to join Al Nassr in December 2022. Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante also made similar moves.

This summer, Messi left French side Paris St-Germain after two years and was expected to be among the high-profile moves to the Middle East, but the great Argentine instead moved to Inter Miami in America’s MLS.

In an exclusive interview with Omasports, Ighalo, who recently left Al Hilal after scoring 31 goals in 40 games, said: “I was shocked because it’s part of the reason my contract wasn’t extended because we didn’t agree.

“But I thought it (Messi to Saudi Arabia) was a done deal because the money they were offering in Saudi was twice Ronaldo’s. I was shocked he didn’t go there and chose Inter Miami instead.”

In Saudi Arabia, Ronaldo, 38, has a reported salary of over £160m per year, making him the highest-paid footballer in the world.

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