Messi ‘to join Al Hilal in days’ as Barcelona miss out despite Xavi plea

Lionel Messi is reportedly set to complete a move to Al Hilal this week in a major blow to Barcelona and their manager Xavi. The Argentina superstar has played his final game for Paris Saint-Germain and it appears he will now be leaving Europe altogether.

Messi was booed by sections of the PSG support during their 3-2 loss to Clermont Foot on Saturday. He announced before the match he would be leaving at the end of his contract.

The 35-year-old said in a statement: “I would like to thank the club, the city of Paris and its people for these two years. I wish you all the best for the future.”

Barca boss Xavi has not hidden his desire to bring his former team-mate Messi back to the club. However, it appears his public calls are going to fall on deaf ears.

French outlet Foot Mercato claims Al Hilal are hugely confident of signing Messi. His arrival at the Saudi Arabian club could even be confirmed in the next week.

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It is claimed Messi would prefer to move back to Barca. However, the La Liga club’s financial situation complicates the chances of that deal happening.

Al Hilal have offered Messi a staggering contract which would earn him around £103million across two years. Jorge Messi, the player’s father, is already claimed to have accepted the proposal.

Messi could join Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi league. Ronaldo plays for Al Nassr and stated last week he wants to stay and help build the reputation of football in the country.

Failing to sign Messi will be a blow to Xavi. Speaking to the press in the last couple of days, he confirmed his desire to re-sign the forward.

Xavi said: “He will decide next week and now there are 200 hypotheses. In the end he will decide his future and here he has the doors open, there is no more debate.

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“If it is the coach who has to give the OK to come, he has the OK at 100 per cent. He knows we’re ready to welcome him, nothing has changed and we have chances.

“We want Leo here. Let him decide. I’m ready to include him in my system.”

Xavi also explained where he sees Messi fitting into his system at Barca. He added: “Well, in many positions he can adapt inside, he can play as a winger, he can play as a midfielder, he can play as a false nine, where he has played all his life.

“In the end you have to find a natural habitat to enhance all your game, but I do see that it can help us a lot, I think we lack that talent in the last third and Leo always gives it to you.”

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