'I don’t have answers to' - Saudi PL chief Emenalo admits he doesn't know why Messi ended up in MLSPublished: December 08, 2023
The Saudi Pro League’s sporting director Michael Emenalo has admitted that he does not why Barcelona and Argentina legend Lionel Messi chose to move to Major League Soccer in July rather than the Saudi top-flight.
Al-Hilal offered an eye-watering salary to convince Messi to move to Saudi Arabia and the striker also considered a return to Barcelona before Inter Miami won the race for his signature.
Al-Hilal's offer to Messi was reportedly worth €1.5 billion (approximately N1.3 trillion in Nigerian currency) over three years.
The Saudi Pro League has become a key player in the transfer market, attracting several prominent African stars such as Riyad Mahrez, Franck Kessié, Edouard Mendy, Sadio Mané, Seko Fofana and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Apart from Messi, Al-Hilal also made unsuccessful attempts to bring in Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.
Speaking ahead of the opening of the January transfer window, Emenalo revealed that the Saudi Pro League is ready to bring in more marquee players including Lionel Messi if the opportunity presents itself.
"The reasons that he ended up in MLS is something that I don’t have answers to,” 1994 World Cup star with the Super Eagles Emenalo said to The Guardian UK.
"If he decides next season that he wants to come here, we will be happy to welcome him. If he wants to stay in MLS, we will be very, very happy for him."
Nigerian forwards Odion Ighalo (Al Wehda), Anthony Nwakaeme (Al Fayha), Henry Onyekuru (Al Fayha) and Saviour Godwin (Al Akhdoud) are on the books of Saudi Pro League clubs.
Photo Credit: chelseafc.com
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