JEDDAH: Lionel Messi arrived in Jeddah on Monday after the Saudi Tourism Authority announced that the Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina footballer is its new official brand ambassador.
In a message posted on Twitter, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb wrote: “I am pleased to welcome Lionel Messi to Saudi Arabia. We are excited for you to explore the treasure of the Red Sea, the Jeddah Season and our ancient history. This is not his first visit to the Kingdom and it will not be the last.”
Messi arrived at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, accompanied by a group of friends. Soon after, photos were posted on social media of the 34-year-old being welcomed to the Kingdom and users began to speculate that he might be visiting the country for Jeddah Season or for commercial activities.
As the announcement of his new role as Tourism ambassador spread on social media, users, including fellow footballers, praised the Tourism Ministry for recruiting him.
Former Al-Hilal and Saudi national team forward Sami Al-Jaber said: “It is a very distinguished and unique step to have Messi as an ambassador for Saudi Tourism due to the huge impact the player has, which will reflect positively on Jeddah’s position as a tourist destination.”
Twitter user Mohammed Al-Sadhan wrote: “As a fan of Messi myself, I am excited about his collaboration and that he will help more people discover this amazing country called Saudi Arabia.”