What's Messi worth? Bitter end to PSG stint fuelled by Qatar-Saudi rivalry

Two years and one World Cup after hosts Qatar bought the greatest footballer of our time, Lionel Messi is leaving Paris Saint-Germain. But perhaps the Argentinian player is already gone. We discuss Messi's suspension for taking an unannounced late-season jaunt to 2030 World Cup candidate Saudi Arabia.

We also ask about the kingdom's World Cup bid, for which Messi is an ambassador, and whether it and the purchase of surging Newcastle sportswash away questions over human rights the way they did for Qatar – whose legacy, after all the accusations of slave labour and white elephant eco-unfriendly construction, was a thrilling tournament.

More broadly, how much soft power does sports buy Gulf states and American billionaires? The robber baron tycoons of the turn of the 20th century built museums and funded universities. Ultimately, does it matter how your favourite team lifted that trophy?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Josephine Joly and Imen Mellaz.

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