Lionel Messi's contract offer from Saudi Arabia raised to €500m as Barcelona face serious competition for Argentine’s signature

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Lionel Messi has reportedly seen the contract offer that he has on the table from Saudi Arabia raised to €500 million (£435m/$541m).
  • Argentine about to hit free agency
  • Linked with return to Camp Nou
  • Record approach from the Middle East

WHAT HAPPENED? The Argentine superstar is in the process of mulling over his options as he approaches the end of a two-year deal at Paris Saint-Germain. With an extension to those terms yet to be agreed at Parc des Princes, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner is preparing to hit free agency.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: An emotional return to Camp Nou has been speculated on for the mercurial 35-year-old, but he has also been heavily linked with a move to the Middle East. Al-Hilal are said to be keen on reuniting Messi with eternal rival Cristiano Ronaldo in Riyadh, with Cadena Ser being told that he has received a record-breaking approach that would see him earn half-a-billion over the course of just one season.

AND WHAT'S MORE: It has, however, also been pointed out – by the founder of Mediapro, Jaume Roures – that a retracing of steps to Barcelona remains Messi’s preference. It is claimed that a decision regarding the South American’s next move will be made before the end of May.

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WHAT NEXT? Barcelona have admitted to holding talks with Messi’s representatives, with club president Joan Laporta vowing to do all he can to put a stunning agreement in place, but well-documented financial struggles for the newly-crowned La Liga champions are making it difficult for them to agree a deal.