Sports

Millions For Kylian: Al-Hilal Makes Record $332 Million Bid For Mbappe

Saudi Arabian Club Makes Formal Bid for French Superstar

Expectedly, Saudi football is rolling out the gold carpet for Mbappe.
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After missing out on Lionel Messi, Saudi Arabian football team Al-Hilal made a record 300 million euro ($332 million) bid for Kylian Mbappe on Monday, which could see the France striker join Cristiano Ronaldo in the oil-rich kingdom.

Paris Saint-Germain confirmed the offer for its player and has given Al-Hilal permission to open negotiations directly with Mbappe.

The 2018 World Cup winner is in a contract standoff with PSG after his decision not to take up the option of a 12-month extension on his deal. Instead, he plans to walk away as a free agent at the end of the upcoming season when he is widely expected to join Real Madrid.

PSG cut Mbappe from its preseason tour of Japan on Saturday, with the French club determined to sell him unless he can be convinced to sign a new contract.

Al-Hilal's bid would make Mbappe the most expensive football player in history, overtaking the $262 million PSG paid for Neymar when the team signed the Brazilian from Barcelona in 2017.

The bid represents Saudi Arabia's most ambitious move yet as part of a determined recruitment drive to lure the game's biggest players to the country.

Karim Benzema, N'Golo Kante and Roberto Firmino are among the big names to head to Saudi Arabia's lucrative league after Ronaldo agreed to a deal with Al-Nassr in December. Messi opted against Al-Hilal, instead choosing MLS team Inter Miami after leaving PSG.

But a host of players have made the move, with more expected to follow before the start of next season. Premier League stars like Riyad Mahrez and Jordan Henderson have been linked with moves.

Saudi Arabia has sought in recent years to buy its way into international sports. Besides Ronaldo, whose contract reportedly earns him up to $200 million a year, Saudi-funded LIV Golf has shaken up professional golf.

The moves are part of efforts by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to leverage the kingdom's oil wealth to provide new jobs and opportunities for Saudi Arabia's youth. However, critics have dismissed the efforts as “sportswashing,” attempting to leverage professional sports to clean up the kingdom's image as it remains one of the world's top executioners and waging a yearslong war in Yemen.

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