Lionel Messi has nothing left to prove and would be great for Saudi Arabia

Lionel Messi has nothing left to prove and would be great for Saudi Arabia

World News Sports

Lionel Messi has nothing left to prove in his career and there would be plenty for him to like about playing in Saudi Arabia, according to Steven Nzonzi.

With his time at Paris Saint-Germain seemingly coming to an end after two years, Messi has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, where long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo is already playing with Al-Nassr.

The World Cup winner is also being courted by former club Barcelona in LaLiga, while he has often been connected with the possibility of finishing his career in the United States.

Messi, 35, has a big decision to make and Nzonzi, who has spent two seasons in the Middle East playing with Al-Rayyan in Qatar, knows a move would make a seismic impact on the region, with its reach stretching beyond football.

With World Cup success for Argentina now secured, Nzonzi does not think Messi should feel any pressure to continue chasing the game’s biggest honours, even if the prospect of a return to the “club of his heart” Barca may be appealing.

Nzonzi told Stats Perform: “If you are Messi, I think that you have done everything in football, so you can do whatever you want and be fine with your decision.

“You literally have nothing left to prove. It has been already years and years that he has had nothing left to prove – but now he just got the World Cup too.

“So just an easy decision for him, I would say. Maybe not easy, because it’s between Barcelona, the club of his heart, and Saudi Arabia, it might not be so easy, I don’t know.

“But in any case, it would be great for Saudi Arabia if you go there for sure. You [would] have [Cristiano Ronaldo] and Messi, the most famous and two of the best players in the world ever. It’s great for the Middle East, for Saudi Arabia and for football in general.

“Of course, [with] a player like Ronaldo going into a league like Saudi Arabia, it’s going to boost the league, it’s going to boost the Middle East as well, because it’s the whole area that can be impacted by this.”

Nzonzi, who won the Europa League during a three-year stay with Sevilla that saw him regularly do battle with Messi at Barca, acknowledges the new league would take some getting used to for the forward after playing at the top level for so long, but thinks the lifestyle has plenty to offer.

Asked about playing in the Middle East, he added: “I’ve been there, I’ve stayed there two seasons. It was good, it was challenging, because we’re always trying to change.

“It is a big change when you’ve been playing at a high level for a long period of time. I was happy to live there. You know, the lifestyle is great. And the football is good, too.

“You learn in any experience, you learn. And that was the most important thing for me, to keep learning to keep helping other players if I can and keep doing my job. That’s what I enjoyed the most.”

Despite being unable to help PSG to what remains an elusive Champions League triumph, Messi has been productive in winning Ligue 1 twice.

This season he has 32 goal involvements (16 goals and 16 assists) in 31 top-flight matches, with Saturday’s contest at home to Clermont still to come.

Ronaldo and Al- Nassr, meanwhile, sit second in the Saudi Pro League. The former Real Madrid and Manchester United star has scored 14 goals in 16 league appearances.

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