In the ever-evolving world of sports, Saudi Arabia is swiftly emerging as a lucrative haven for footballers. Its financial incentives, in the form of astronomical salaries, are drawing the attention of even the most illustrious stars in sports, leading some to consider switching careers entirely.
The Financial Attraction: A Paradigm Shift
The case in point is Giannis Antetokounmpo, a notable NBA star currently playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, who has humorously expressed his openness to changing sports amidst this shifting tide.
Posting on Twitter, the Greek basketball sensation wrote, "I was just sitting on my couch scrolling through For you page. Messi Ronaldo and Benzema. If you’re looking for a goalie for next season, let me know," further garnishing his statement with a series of laughing emoticons.
Antetokounmpo is already a titan in the NBA, raking in between $45 million to $52 million a year.
I was just sitting on my couch scrolling through For you page. Messi Ronaldo and Benzema. If you’re looking for a goalie for next season, let me know. 😂😂😂 — Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) June 5, 2023
Yet, this substantial sum pales in comparison to the potential earnings offered by Saudi Arabian clubs, which could be four times what Benzema earns and potentially ten times greater than Messi's annual salary, if the Argentinian superstar ever chooses to accept the Saudis' offer.
High-Profile Transfers and The Saudi Vision
Just yesterday, Karim Benzema signed for Al-Ittihad, following in the footsteps of Cristiano Ronaldo, who had made the move to Saudi Arabia months ago. Meanwhile, Lionel Messi had also been presented with the option to join the financial exodus to the Middle East.
However, he decided to chart a different path, opting for Inter Miami instead. Following Messi's official confirmation to play for Inter Miami next season, Marca, a leading Spanish newspaper, revealed that the football magician will pocket approximately 100 million euros per year.
This, despite an offer from Saudi Arabia that tipped the scales at a staggering billion euros. Evidently, Messi's decision wasn't solely influenced by the financial clout, suggesting that the sporting proposal put forth by the Saudis lacked a certain allure for the seasoned player.
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