Saudi excitement builds as third Messi visit announced

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Saudi excitement at the possibility of soccer superstar Lionel Messi joining the nation’s Pro League swelled on Thursday after it was announced he would visit the kingdom for a third time in less than a year later this month.

”The Argentine, who completed a glittering career resume last year by lifting the World Cup in Qatar, will visit for a holiday,” Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said.

“I am happy to welcome our Tourism Ambassador and his family and friends this month to enjoy our most beautiful tourism destinations, connect with our people and enjoy unique experiences!” Al-Khatib said on Twitter.

The news came hours before the exit of Messi’s French club Paris St Germain from the European Champions League on Wednesday.

The oil-rich nation appointed Messi its tourism ambassador last year, and he visited Jeddah in May, before returning in January to play a friendly match with Paris Saint Germain (PSG) against a team of Saudi League stars, when he faced great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.