What Is Lionel Messi's Net Worth and How Does It Compare to Others?

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What he’s done on the pitch has earned Lionel Messi’s the title of being undoubtedly one of the greatest soccer players of all time, but what he’s done off the pitch has also made him one of the richest. Lionel Messi’s net worth is an estimated $400 million, making him one of the two highest-paid soccer stars in the world, second only to Cristiano Ronaldo. So how exactly did the Argentinian do it?

In a recent list of the world’s highest-paid soccer players, Forbes stated that Messi’s salary was a whopping $42 million. In 2017, his pay increased after former teammate Neymar left Barcelona to go to play for PSG. This took his massive wages off the books and the club was able to pay Lionel a significant amount more than they already were. UEFA has a wage spending recommendation and the club actually admitted that Messi’s new contract would put them over that, but insisted that they could afford it and pointed out that there technically no official salary cap. The buyout clause for this new contract was €700m, or around $758 million and it lasts until the 2020/2021 season.

His annual salary is a good place to start

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In the 2017/2018 La Liga season, Messi made $84 million from annual salary plus bonuses. Bonuses in soccer are often performance-related, with some earning tens of thousands for every goal. In that season, Messi was the leader in goals with 34, leader in assists with 12, and the leader in hattricks with 4. All of this helped lead Barcelona to win the league, so it’s no wonder why he took home so much money.

Those numbers are astonishing, but even for someone of Messi’s stature, it would be extremely difficult to amass a net worth well into nine figures without endorsement deals, sponsorships, and other lucrative business ventures. He didn’t top Forbes’ 2019 list of the world’s paid athletes over names like Floyd Mayweather Jr., Canelo Álvarez, and Roger Federer by just playing soccer.

Building a net worth off the field

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Lionel actually boasts one of the better portfolios outside of his sport that you’ll ever see. Some brands that he has been linked with include Adidas, Pepsi, Gatorade, Lays, Mastercard, Gillette, Hawkers, and Turkish Airlines, to name a few.

His deal with Adidas is the most significant of the bunch as Messi is their leading brand endorser. He has been with them since 2006 and in 2017, the soccer star reportedly signed a deal with the German brand that will last until at least the end of his career but is widely believed to be a lifetime agreement similar to what LeBron James has with Nike. Up until then, Messi was earning around $10 million annually from Adidas and we can only assume that it has increased due to the longevity of the new contract.

In March of 2016, Lionel Messi became the global brand ambassador for Huawei, the Chinese mobile brand. Reports estimated that deal to be worth an incredible $6 million. This isn’t Messi’s only business from China either. In 2017 it was announced that this year would see the opening of Messi’s own theme park in China. In collaboration with Phoenix Group and Leo Messi Management, Mediapro launched the project which had an investment of over $180 million. It’s likely been put on the backburner for now but will be cash cow whenever it comes to fruition.

It’s certainly worth noting that these endorsements have gotten Leo in trouble with the law in the past. A few years ago, he and his father Jorge were found guilty of tax fraud after moving millions of dollars to offshore accounts in South America from 2007-2009. Messi was given a 21-month sentence which was eventually changed to a fine of €252k. His father’s 15-month sentence was also changed to a €180k fine after Messi shelled out a voluntary €5 million as a corrective payment. The pair were then fined a total of €3.5 million.

Despite this, all of these deals have made Messi a brand in his own right. Last year, Hookit, which tracks sponsorship value on digital and social media, determined that Messi generates $106 million in value for his sponsors with a following of over 200 million across multiple platforms.

Being arguably the greatest of your generation is good and all, but with his net worth reaching half a billion dollars, Messi has also laid the blueprints for how to become a tycoon.

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