French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain has entered negotiations with Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal for star striker Kylian Mbappé, according to multiple reports.
Mbappé, who is in the last year of his contract, could receive a massive payday of $776 million for one year as part of the deal, according to reports from CBS and Fabrizio Romano, by far the richest single-season sports contract ever given out. That number would include “commercial” deals, Romano reported, in addition to Mbappé’s soccer obligations to the club.
After news broke on Monday that PSG is reportedly willing to move on from the 24-year-old French superstar, non-soccer athletes reacted to the news, perhaps wondering if they chose the wrong sport to play.
Damian Lillard is one of the highest-paid players in the NBA at $45 million per season, but his deal is a fraction of Mbappé’s potential contract. His response to the money Mbappe might soon make? “Wtf lol.”
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo looked to be wondering if he could switch positions with the French footballer. “You can take me,” the NBA star tweeted to Al Hilal. Mbappé later replied to Antetokounmpo with a series of laughing emojis.
Mbappé’s reported contract offer is hundreds of millions more than LeBron James’s $530 million lifetime earnings in his 21-year NBA career.
Soccer stars are often some of the highest-paid athletes in the world and players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Rolnaldo routinely lead those lists.
To be clear, Mbappé would need to sign off on a deal with Al Hilal to receive this record-setting payday, and ESPN reported that he is unlikely to do so. Mbappé is one of the best footballers in the world and reports indicate he would prefer to stay in a top league like Spain’s La Liga or the English Premier League instead of the less robust Saudi Pro League.
Mbappé has made roughly $292 million in his career, according to Capology.com estimates.
Other well-known players have joined the Saudi League in recent years for huge contracts. Cristiano Ronaldo is earning an estimated $213 million this year from his club Al Nassr, the biggest annual deal in sports, and Karim Benzema is reportedly collecting $214 million on his two-year contract with Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ittihad.
For its outsized roles in LIV Golf, English soccer and Formula 1, some critics have called out Saudi Arabia for “sportswashing,” which is a term used to define entities using an athletic event to improve a tarnished reputation.
According to the U.S. Department of State, Saudi Arabia has been accused in recent years of multiple human rights violations, including: unlawful killings; executions for nonviolent offenses; forced disappearances; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees by government agents; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; and taking political prisoners or detainees, among other offenses.