An FC Barcelona first team star has rejected a big money offer from Saudi Arabia according to SPORT.
This month, Barca have already seen one of their former players flee to the Middle East when Franck Kessie was sold to Al-Ahli for €12.5 million ($13.6 million).
Along with the €50.4 million ($55 million) earned from Ousmane Dembele’s transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, the cash from Kessie’s move helped Barca navigate Financial Fair Play limits and register new signings such as Ilkay Gundogan.
The ex-Manchester City captain, who arrived on a free after his contract at the Etihad expired, has already made an impact in Catalonia and was praised by Xavi on Sunday for delivering the devastating through ball that unlocked Cadiz’s low block.
Until the German’s assist for Pedri in the 85th minute, Barca looked on course to break an unwanted record of starting a La Liga campaign goalless in the first two matches for the first time since 1973.
After Pedri scored with Gundogan’s help, Barca then doubled their lead through Ferran Torres and finished the Montjuic Stadium league debut 2-0 victors.
Speaking of captains, Sergi Roberto now boasts the armband in the wake of Sergio Busquets’ decision to join Lionel Messi at Inter Miami.
But had the 31-year-old entertained an offer from the Saudi Pro League, Marc-Andre ter Stegen might have been boosted to the most senior on-field role.
Barca reportedly gave Roberto “total freedom” to listen to what the Saudis said, but he turned them down while citing a preference to see out the duration of his contract which expires in the summer of 2024.
Roberto dreams of lifting the Champions League trophy as the team’s leader at Wembley on June 1 next year, and has every right to do so given his devotion to the club since his days in the La Masia academy.
Xavi Hernandez also admires the Reus native for his versatility, and Roberto can offer him versatility few other players are able to while putting in a shift in either central midfield or at right back.
Perhaps when he is a free agent in just over 10 months’ time, Roberto might be more willing to listen to what potential suitors have to say.