Lionel Messi, unarguably amongst the greatest footballers of all time, is one of the world’s richest celebrities and, in fact, the richest sportsperson by net worth.
The Argentine footballer is a seven-time record winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or — football’s highest honour. In 2020, he became the first footballer to be awarded the Laureus Award for Best Sportsman of the Year award — an honour he received jointly with seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
Above all, he led Argentina to championship victory at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
“The GOAT debate is settled. The ultimate prize is now part of the collection. The legacy is complete,” FIFA tweeted with a picture of Messi holding his record all-time 11th Player of the Match award and the World Cup trophy, after Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalties on 18 December 2022.
Lionel Messi: A look at his career
Messi has lifted countless trophies throughout his stellar career and set multiple playing records that might remain unbroken for a long time.
He started his professional career with the first team of Spanish La Liga club FC Barcelona at the age of 16 on 16 November 2003. By the time he left the club in August 2021, he had won 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles, three UEFA Super Cup titles, three FIFA Club World Cup trophies and four UEFA Champions League titles for the Catalan side. Additionally, he created a record by winning six European Golden Shoe awards.
His move to French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) after spending 17 seasons with Barcelona made headlines around the world. Messi continued proving why many consider him the greatest active player by winning the French league in the 2021-22 season and the Trophée des Champions, also known as French Super Cup, in 2022.
The Argentine has also been instrumental in bringing glory to the national side, winning the Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and leading Argentina to victory at the 2021 Copa América title. He also led Argentina to the FIFA World Cup final in 2014 and to championship victory at the 2022 edition of the tournament.
A holder of several records for goals scored for club and country, the most notable ones for Messi include his 474 goals in La Liga, which is the highest for any player, and the most international goals by a South American male footballer with 90. And while he has scored over 760 goals in total, his rival Cristiano Ronaldo has over 800.
Other than his career, the South American is also involved in philanthropy with the Leo Messi Foundation, which he started in 2007 to support children and promote social inclusion through education, health and sports.
Lionel Messi’s career earnings
Forbes ranked Messi twice as the world’s highest-paid athlete — first in 2019 and again in 2022.
His total earnings was estimated to be at USD 130 million in pre-tax earnings in 2022 by Forbes, making him the athlete who earned the most in the 12-month period between 1 May 2021 and 1 May 2022.
The football legend is one of the six billionaire athletes in the world. Forbes valued his career earnings at USD 1.15 billion.
The largest share of Lionel Messi’s total earnings in 2022 came in the form of on-field earnings, which include salaries and incentives he receives for his performance.
According to Forbes, Messi earned USD 75 million as on-field earnings — a figure only behind Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez in the study period from 2021 to 2022.
In August 2021, he left FC Barcelona and joined Ligue 1 club PSG on a two-year contract. The transfer was one of the biggest newsmakers of the year, not only because it involved Messi but also because it was the first transfer in the Argentine’s professional career.
Messi’s net salary at PSG is reportedly between USD 35 and USD 41 million per year. Accordingly, Messi earns at least around USD 95,000 per day.
Messi was a free agent when he made the move from Barcelona to PSG. At that time, several media outlets reported that Messi would, therefore, also be receiving an additional sign-on fee of around USD 35 million. But there is no confirmation on exactly how much he received.
According to Associated Press, Spanish newspaper El Mundo published a report in January 2021, revealing that Messi was making way more than initially believed at Barcelona. And, at that time, El Mundo said that it had access to the Barcelona contract Messi signed with the club in 2017. According to it, he was earning around USD 167 million per year in salary and incentives at the Catalan club — the most expensive contract by any athlete in the world.
There is no doubt that Messi is one of the world’s most famous faces. And, therefore, some of the world’s most-known brands make a beeline to sign him as their brand ambassador.
Earnings from his endorsements and businesses form a major share of Messi’s net worth in off-field earnings, which, as per Forbes, amounted to a total of USD 55 million between 2021 and 2022.
The brands that Messi endorses include Budweiser, Gatorade, Konami, PUBG MOBILE, Pepsi and Mastercard.
Messi also has a highly lucrative deal with German sportswear brand Adidas. He first signed with Adidas in 2006 and has long been the face of the brand. In 2017, he signed a lifetime contract with the brand. That contract would see him make around USD 25 million annually, as per Business Insider.
In early November 2022, Messi became the global brand ambassador of the social impact arm of Indian edtech company Byju’s. According to Mint, a company spokesperson declined to comment on the endorsement fee paid to the footballer.
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Also, in March 2022, he signed a three-year endorsement deal with fan tokens site Socios.com for over USD 20 million. Fan tokens are a type of cryptocurrency which grant special privileges to fans of sports teams. The company is PSG’s fan token provider.
According to an August 2021 report by ESPN, PSG acknowledged that Messi was paid a ‘large number’ of tokens as part of his ‘welcome package,’ which is also known as a sign-on fee.
In October 2022, Messi signed a deal with crypto trading platform Bitget for an undisclosed amount.
Earnings from Instagram
Messi has over 370 million followers on Instagram, making him the third most-followed human on the social media platform and the second most-followed sportsperson after Ronaldo. This massive following brings in very good revenue as part of his off-field earnings.
A 2019 Forbes report says that a single paid post on Messi’s Instagram account earned him an average of USD 648,000.
Cut to 2022, the figure is now in the million brackets. As per the UK-based Instagram planning and scheduling tool Hopper HQ, Messi now makes roughly over USD 1.77 million per post.
Messi’s Instagram account offers a mix of his personal and professional worlds. There are pictures and videos of him spending quality time with family alongside those of his matches both at the club and the national levels.
Thrown into this mix are paid partnerships with the brands that Messi endorses.
Businesses that Messi owns
Messi is also the owner of the Messi Store — a clothing line he launched along with its first retail outlet in Barcelona in 2019.
But one of his most significant business interests is his constantly expanding hotel empire.
Messi became the owner of the hotel chain, MiM Hotels, in 2017. According to a 2021 Forbes article, the hotel chain is operated by Majestic Hotel Group. Messi’s brother, Rodrigo, runs the group.
MiM Hotels has a presence in multiple Spanish cities as well as the Principality of Andorra.
In around April 2021, he added Hotel MiM Baqueira as the first winter resort of the chain. The Baqueira property has 141 rooms and overlooks the outstanding ski destination of Aran Valley in the heart of the Pyrenees.
Messi added a sixth property to his hotel portfolio — MiM Sotogrande. Located in Puerto Deportivo de Sotogrande in Cadiz in Spain’s coastal south, the boutique hotel opened in April 2022. It has 45 spacious rooms and offers breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea towards Gibraltar and Morocco.
The other three properties that Messi owns as part of his MiM Hotel chain are in Ibiza, Mallorca and Sitges.
However, earlier in December 2021, Messi was ordered to demolish MiM Sitges, which is located in the town of the same name close to Barcelona, because it did not meet Barcelona’s building regulations. Messi had purchased the building in 2017 for USD 35 million from its previous owner.
Multiple media outlets reported that according to Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, he was unaware that there was a demolition order till he was approached by the paper for a comment.
All the properties Messi owns
Mansion in Rosario
Rosario in Argentina is Messi’s hometown. Despite living and playing for most of his life in Europe, Messi makes sure to visit his hometown frequently.
The city remembers its favourite son through a sports museum, which among its items has a small red shirt with a white collar that Messi wore when he was an academy player with Newell’s Old Boys. His school and the Abanderado Grandoli club where he picked up his footballing skills are also located in the city.
His family has a house in the La Bajada neighbourhood of Rosario on Israel street. The house has been empty for long, but reports indicate that Messi’s family is still its owner.
Due to his connection with the city and his reported plan to settle in Rosario after retirement from football, Messi constructed a mansion within a private estate dubbed ‘The Fortress’ for around USD 4 million.
According to The Daily Mail, which cited Argentine media reports, the gated estate is located on the outskirts of Rosario, in the affluent small city of Funes.
The mansion is built on three adjoining plots of land and has around 20 to 25 rooms. It has a gym, a swimming pool and a huge cinema. There is also an underground garage which can fit 15 cars. The entire top floor of the mansion is designed as a children’s playroom. The report says that furniture for the house came from Paris, Milan and Israel.
Property in Barcelona
Messi will forever be a Barcelona legend. And so, it is unsurprising that the most well-known of all of Messi’s properties is the one he has on the outskirts of the Catalan city, which shaped him into what he is today.
The property is worth USD 7 million and sits in the exclusive, no-fly zone suburb of Castelldefels despite being close to the Barcelona airport. This means that no planes are allowed to fly over Messi’s palatial home, and there is absolute peace for the residents.
The mansion is located near Camp Nou, Barcelona’s home ground where Messi played several El Clásico matches against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
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It has its own gym, from where the mountains are easily visible. The property sits close to the Balearic Sea and, as such, also offers stunning coastal views.
Its amenities include a pool, a theatre, an outdoor dining area, a playground, a spa and a small football ground on which Messi has been seen playing with his dog.
Condominium in Miami
Messi bought a USD 7.3 million condominium in Miami, Florida, the US in early 2021. According to American real estate news outlet The Real Deal, the Argentine’s condo occupies the entire ninth floor of the building named Regalia in Sunny Isles Beach.
As per the report, the unit has four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, terrace space and a 1,000-bottle wine cooler.
According to Forbes, the indoor space of the condo measures 512 square metres, while the terrace space measures 195 square metres. The units in the condo offer 360-degree views of the surroundings.
Regalia itself has six pools, a spa, a yoga studio, a champagne bar and a chef’s kitchen, among other amenities, within its 46 storeys, of which 39 are full-floor units. The building also has direct access to the beach.
But The Sun reported in November 2021 that he had put it up for sale. It is not clear if the property has been sold.
Apart from the Regalia condo, The Real Deal says that Messi also has a unit at Porsche Design Tower in the same area. He bought the property sometime in 2018 for USD 5 million.
The vehicles Messi owns or has leased
The private jet in which he flies around the world
Messi doesn’t own a private jet, but he has taken one on lease for his trips. The Gulfstream V private jet was originally built in 2004 and is worth around USD 15 million.
The aircraft reportedly has two kitchens and accommodates up to 16 passengers. The seats can be folded into beds to sleep up to eight passengers.
Messi’s new private jet – a kitchen, two bathrooms & 16 seats that can be folded to make eight beds. On the exterior, branded with his signature number 10 on the tail, names of the Argentina icon, his wife, and their three children, written on steps pic.twitter.com/shokwuWIov
— Xinhua Sports (@XHSports) December 11, 2018
The most unique feature of the aircraft, which makes it easily identifiable as Messi’s, is the number 10 on its tail. Any football fan knows that Messi has sported the No.10 jersey for the Argentina national team and wore it when he was in Barcelona.
The aircraft’s steps have the names of Messi, his wife, Antonella, and their three children — Thiago, Ciro and Mateo. The aircraft is used quite frequently, either by Messi, his family or his friends.
Pagani Zonda Roadster
According to a March 2022 report by the Daily Mirror, Messi is said to own 13 cars — six less than Ronaldo. However, the total value of Messi’s cars is over USD 36 million — a figure that is around USD 13 million more than the total value of Ronaldo’s machines.
Among Messi’s cars is a Pagani Zonda Roadster. Though Pagani is an Italian maker of hypercars, it has a unique Argentine connection. Its founder is Argentine-Italian Horacio Pagani and two of its line of cars — Zonda and Huayra — are South American words for wind.
The cars of Pagani Zonda models are among the world’s costliest. A Pagani Zonda F Roadster can cost anywhere around USD 1.4 million while the Pagani Zonda Cinque Roadster costs around USD 1.8 million.
Not to mention the Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta, of which only three were ever made, including one owned by Horacio Pagani and one that crashed in September 2022 in Croatia. Reports suggest that the Pagani Zonda HP Barchetta costs roughly USD 17.5 million.
A Pagani Roadster is equipped with a Mercedes-Benz AMG 7.3 engine and goes 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds.
It is believed that Messi owns a Ferrari F430 Spider. The supercar has a V8 engine that delivers a top speed of over 310 km/h and accelerates at 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds.
In 2016, multiple media outlets reported that Messi bought a 1957 Ferrari 335 S Spider Scaglietti for approximately USD 37 million at an auction in Paris. In the process, he reportedly outbid Ronaldo.
Following the media reports, Messi posted a cryptic picture on Instagram with a toy car in hand. “My new car,” he captioned the post. Some reports say that it was his way of denying the speculations about the car.
But in case Messi indeed possesses the car, it would be the most impressive four-wheeler in his collection, as only four were ever made.
The Mirror report says that the PSG star owns a Mercedes SLS AMG, a Maserati GranTurismo MC Strandale, a Maserati GranTurismo S, a Lexus, a Dodge Charger, a Cadillac Escalade and a Mini Cooper. He also owns several Audis and Range Rovers.
Among these luxurious and powerful machines, Messi’s garage also has a Toyota Prius, which he won for being the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at the Club World Cup held in Japan in December 2011. The Toyota Prius is an eco-friendly family car as it has a hybrid powertrain.
(Main and Featured images: Leo Messi/@leomessi/Facebook)