Saudi Arabia’s tourism minister took to Twitter on Monday to welcome Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi to the Kingdom. “I am happy to welcome Saudi Tourism Ambassador Lionel #Messi and his family on his second vacation in Saudi. We are happy to share our authentic Saudi welcome with you all,” Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb tweeted.
The minister later tweeted pictures of Messi and his family soaking up the Saudi sun, playing traditional board game carrom, and feeding an Arabian gazelle with two of his sons. “We welcome visitors from all around the world to experience a unique trip to Saudi Arabia and its hospitality,” Al-Khateeb said.
Fans took to social media to share images of the footballer’s arrival in the country. The footballer’s visit comes just one day after he took to social media to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s natural wonders on Saturday in partnership with Visit Saudi. The Paris Saint-Germain footballer posted a shot of the Kingdom’s date palm groves, with a caption saying: “Who thought Saudi has so much green? I love to explore its unexpected wonders whenever I can.”
Messi visited the Kingdom last May for Jeddah Season, an annual festival in the coastal city of Jeddah, posting an image of himself on a boat watching the sun setting over the Red Sea. He also toured parts of Jeddah’s old town, a heritage site. Messi, considered one of the legends of the sport, won the World Cup with Argentina in Qatar last year. He has a large international fanbase with hundreds of millions of followers on social media. The Argentine is an ambassador with Visit Saudi, the tourism ministry’s promotional brand. The ministry is tasked with showcasing Saudi Arabia’s natural and cultural treasures to international and domestic tourists as part of reforms known as Saudi Vision 2030.