Saudi Arabia is throwing absurd amounts of money toward the world’s top athletes and organizations, buying its way to the top tier of sport.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, is making the late George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees look like a penny-pincher by comparison.

The news broke today that Saudi Pro League‘s Al Hilal team offered Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) a $1.1 billion transfer package for French soccer star Kylian Mbappé. The blockbuster deal would consist of a $332 million transfer fee paid to PSG and a $776 million one-year salary for Mbappé.

The offer has triggered reactions not just from fans and journalists, but also from some of the biggest names in sports, including Lebron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis, also known as the “Greek Freak,” tweeted that Al Hilal “can take me,” noting his uncanny resemblance to Mbappé.

Lebron tweeted a picture of Forrest Gump running, saying that would be him “headed to Saudi” if they called his agent Rich Paul and business partner Maverick Carter.

The Saudis aren’t winning every battle. Last month, Argentinian star Lionel Messi chose to head to the United States and play for Inter Miami of Major League Soccer.

But Saudi Arabia and MBS have come full circle from the aftermath of the brutal murder of writer Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, shedding their pariah status. The shame that was briefly associated with Saudi funding in the business and entertainment worlds no longer exists. Money talks.

Arif Rafiq is the editor of Globely News. Rafiq has contributed commentary and analysis on global issues for publications such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the New Republic, the New York Times, and POLITICO Magazine.

He has appeared on numerous broadcast outlets, including Al Jazeera English, the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio.

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