Top 5 Soccer Players Who Have Rejected A Move To Saudi Arabia: Messi & Mbappe Headline Star-Studded List

Kylian Mbappe Lionel Messi Rejected Moves To Saudi Arabia
Kylian Mbappe Lionel Messi Rejected Moves To Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s premier soccer division, Saudi Pro League (SPL) has lured away many European stars over the last few months. Given the royal treatment players get in Saudi Arabia, it is not difficult to see why more and more top-tier stars are tempted to take their talents there.

It started with Cristiano Ronaldo’s free transfer to Al-Nassr in January. Earlier this summer, Ballon d’Or holder Karim Benzema joined Al-Ittihad. Shortly after, last season’s Treble winner with Manchester City, Riyad Mahrez, pledged his allegiance to Al-Ahli. Finally, Neymar moved to Al-Hilal, joining the 18-time Saudi champions after a six-year stay at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

It is safe to say Saudi Arabian clubs have had a lot of success signing top players this year, but not every star could be swayed by ridiculous perks and astronomical wages. Here are five European superstars who reportedly turned down offers from Saudi Arabian clubs:

#5 Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy Rejected Al-Khaleej This Summer
Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy Celebrating After Scoring

As per The Guardian, multiple Saudi Arabian clubs, including Al-Khaleej, knocked on Leicester City star Jamie Vardy’s doors this summer. The Englishman, who is a Premier League legend in every sense of the word, is currently 36 years old and is in the final year of his contract. Additionally, the Foxes were demoted to the Championship last season, meaning Vardy would miss the thrill of Premier League football this season.

Given the circumstances, no one would have blamed Vardy if he had opted for a switch. The striker, however, firmly rejected the offers, choosing to extend his Leicester City legacy.

#4 Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-Min Rejected A Move To Al-Ittihad
Son Heung-Min Earns $12.7 Million At Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur star and one of the best wingers in the world, Son Heung-Min drew interest from Saudi champions Al-Ittihad earlier this summer. The South Korean ace reportedly received a $32.7 million/season deal from Al-Ittihad but was not even close to being swayed.

Had he accepted the offer, the 31-year-old would have been earning more than twice what he makes at Tottenham. As per the data from Sportrac, Son is on a $12.7 million contract in north London.

#3 Luka Modric

Luka Modric Rejected Al-Hilal's Three-Year Offer This Summer
Luka Modric Has Won Five Champions League Trophies With Real Madrid

Real Madrid legend Luka Modric signed a one-year contract extension with the 14-year European champions before the start of the 2023-24 season. Prior to penning a new deal, the 37-year-old reportedly received an offer from Al Hilal.

According to reports in Spain, Modric was offered a shiny $215 million, three-year contract, which would have allowed him to play into his 40s. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, however, promptly turned it down, choosing a one-year extension instead.

#2 Kylian Mbappe

PSG's Kylian Mbappe Turned Down Al-Hilal
PSG’s Kylian Mbappe Could Leave The Club As A Free Agent Next Summer

Earlier this summer, Kylian Mbappe declared that he would not be signing a contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). This means that he will the club as a free agent when his contract expires in June 2024. Unwilling to let him go for free next year, PSG transfer-listed Mbappe, which allowed Al-Hilal to barge in with a world record $332 million bid for the France superstar.

It was reported that PSG were prepared to let Mbappe go, but the player refused to negotiate with the Saudi Arabian club, causing the transfer to collapse. Mbappe has not yet signed a new deal with PSG but is believed to be more open-minded than he was at the start of the summer window.

#1 Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Turned Down And Offer From Saudi Arabian Club Al-Hilal
Lionel Messi Already Has 10 Goals For Inter Miami

Lionel Messi’s future was shrouded in speculation prior to his move to Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami on July 15. According to reports, Saudi giants Al-Hilal were eager to get the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner on their books and were prepared to make him the highest-paid sportsperson in history.

It is believed that Al-Hilal tabled a whopping $541 million/year offer to sign Messi as a free agent this summer. However, the 36-year-old seemingly had his heart set on a spell in America, with him turning Al-Hilal down in favor of a contract with Inter Miami. The Barcelona legend, who propelled Miami to their first-ever silverware with a Leagues Cup win over Nashville SC, reportedly earns between $50 million and $60 million at the DRV PNK Stadium.

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