The lasting influence of Lionel Messi is so immense that it is hard to quantify. We’ll do our best to capture the cultural and economic impact of the Argentinian legend.
Lionel Messi suited up for FC Barcelona for the first 17 years of his magical soccer career before signing a two-year pact with Paris Saint-Germain last August. The stadium where he evolved into one of the best players to ever don No. 10 — and now, No. 30 — and where he delivered an emotional farewell press conference, is now known as Spotify Camp Nou.
Last week, Barça and Spotify announced their “strategic long-term partnership in sports and entertainment.” The reported $306 million deal places the streaming giant’s logo on Barça’s home kits and name in front of Camp Nou. (It also encompasses future music-based engagements.)
The eye-popping money exchanging hands is chump change compared to FC Barcelona’s $4.76 billion valuation, as relayed by Forbes last April — claiming the crown for the richest club in the world. It’s impossible to think that Messi didn’t have something — if not everything — to do with Blaugrana bringing in $792 million in revenue for 2020 and increasing its two-year profits by 18%.
If those are the figures over the last two years, it’s hard to fathom the money that has mounted since La Pulga professionally signed with Barça in 2004.
Lionel Messi’s Career Earnings Highlights
- Became the second-ever soccer player to cross the $1 billion career earnings threshold in late 2020 after Cristiano Ronaldo did it months earlier
- Ranked No. 2 on Forbes‘ 2021 year-end highest-paid athletes list at $130 million — behind Conor McGregor ($180M) and ahead of Ronaldo ($120M)
- Netted a reported $674 million from a four-year contract with Barça that expired last June
- Named the world’s highest-paid soccer player by Forbes in September 2020 at $126 million— $92 million in salary, $34 million through endorsements
- Signed with PSG for two years for an estimated $75 million, reported by Forbes‘ Christina Settimi and broken down by Boardroom here
- Inked $20 million crypto pact with digital fan token company Socios.com
- Signed first with Adidas in 2006 on a five-year deal; more recently, it was reported in 2017 that he inked a lifetime contract and per Insider, he will earn $25 million annually
- Starred alongside fellow GOAT Roger Federer for Gillette in this hilarious 2014 commercial, and kept the theme going with this similarly endearing GOAT-vs.-GOAT ad for Turkish Airlines in 2012 with the late, great Kobe Bryant
- Other top-tier brand endorsements include Budweiser, Gatorade, Lays, and Pepsi
- 759 total goals
- 325 total assists
- 158 international caps for Argentina
- 80 international goals
- 55 hat-trick matches overall
- 10-time LaLiga champion with FC Barcelona
- 7-time Ballon d’Or winner, including last November’s award to extend his own all-time record
- 6-time Copa del Rey champion
- 4-time Champions League winner
- 2-time men’s FIFA Player of the Year
- 1 Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games, which Messi has called “the win I value the most”
- Sold the boots he wore to break Pele’s all-time club scoring record last summer for £125,000, benefitting Vall Hebron University Hospital’s Arts and Health Project
- Agreed to a 70% pay cut in March 2020 — “the players will make an additional contribution so that none of the non-sporting staff’s earnings will be reduced” during what was then a COVID-induced state of emergency in Spain (h/t ESPN)
- Serving UNICEF since his 2010 appointment as Goodwill Ambassador
- Gives back in various ways through his Leo Messi Foundation
Messi has achieved beyond what he could have dreamed of as a child in Argentina. But one thing has eluded him. The electric striker has never captured FIFA World Cup glory; the Argentines haven’t won it since Diego Maradona led the way in 1986.
Argentina has qualified for November’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. At 34 — turning 35 in June — it will likely be Messi’s last shot to do what has been the impossible for La Albiceleste.
Before Messi can begin worrying about that, though, PSG is looking to finish French Ligue 1 play strong. Rumors are hot that Messi could still leave. Criticism is even hotter after PSG (yet again) prematurely exited Champions League in mind-blowing fashion, losing to Real Madrid on aggregate earlier this month. (In a cruel twist of irony, Real Madrid will be Kylian Mbappé’s new home next summer.)
Next up is AS Monaco. PSG last defeated their rivals 2-0 in December, thanks to two scores by wonder boy Mbappé. The Parisians are a lock to finish top of the table regardless of Sunday’s matchup, but with the face of the next generation already out the door, what does PSG need to keep Messi happy and bask in his generational star power beyond this year?