Lionel Messi claims Saudi Pro League isn’t yet an ‘important’ competition in subtle dig at Cristiano Ronaldo

Lionel Messi has lifted the lid on the options he had before joining Inter Miami, including a sensational move to the Saudi Pro League.

Messi left Paris Saint-Germain in the summer to sign for David Beckham’s Inter Miami over the summer where he helped inspired them to their first ever piece of silverware.

The recently crowned eight-time Ballon d’Or winner had plenty of options on the table before choosing the MLS, though.

Speaking in an interview with TIME, Messi revealed he considered returning to his former club Barcelona, as well as joining long-term rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Saudi Pro League.

However, the World Cup winner claimed that the division isn’t yet “an important league,” but had the “power” to become one “in the near future”.

“The truth is that fortunately, I had several options on the table that were interesting, and I had to analyse them and think, even weigh them up with my family, before making the final decision to come to Miami,” Messi said.

Image Credit: Getty

“My first option was to return to Barcelona, but it was not possible,” Messi says. “I tried to return, and it did not happen.” Saudi Arabia, indeed, was very much in the mix.

“It is also true that later I was thinking a lot about going to the Saudi league, where I know the country and they have created a very powerful competition that can become an important league in the near future,” Messi says.

“As the country’s tourism ambassador, it was a destination that attracted me, especially because I’ve enjoyed everything I have visited, because of how football is growing in the country and because of the effort they are putting into creating a top competition.”

Messi also named the MLS as a “minor league” in a recent interview.

His comments follow that of Ronaldo in July, when he claimed that the Saudi Pro League is “better” than the MLS and would soon surpass the Turkish Super Lig and Eredivisie.