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REVEALED! Ighalo forced out of Saudi’s Al Hilal to pave way for Messi in aborted transfer deal



Inside the luxury £173m jet Saudi stars use to travel as ex-Man Utd star Ighalo shows incoming stars what to expectr Credit: Instagram/@alhilal

Former Super Eagles’ hitman, Odion Ighalo has revealed that he was forced out of his Saudi Arabia’s club, Al Hilal to make space for Lionel Messi.

As it turned out eventually, Messi opted for the America’s Major League Soccer, MLS. Ighalo who scored 42 goals in 58 games for Al Hilal across two seasons made the revelation to UK tabloid, The Sun.

It was in similar situation that Cameroon’s captain, Vincent Aboubakar was offloaded by Al Nassr to make room for Cristiano Ronaldo earlier. Had Messi joined Al Hilal, the lingering but now nascent rivalry with Ronaldo would have been renewed.

Now without a club, Ighalo had previously played for Al Shabab where he scored 22 goals in 32 games. The race for Messi’s  signature was one of the biggest transfers this summer, as his PSG contract ran down.

According to another publication, Foot Mercato, Messi was offered a staggering £1billion over two years by Al-Hilal.


“I’m shocked [Lionel] Messi didn’t go to Saudi Arabia because it was part of why my contract was not being extended,” The Sun of UK reported that he told Germany-based Nigerian journalist, Oma Akatugba.

“I thought it was a done deal. The money they were offering him in Saudi [Arabia] was crazy.

“He was going to earn twice what [Cristiano] Ronaldo was earning. I was shocked he didn’t go there. He chose Miami.”




Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.