We are really used to hear that Leo Messi is the best footballer in the world. Match after match he makes all Culés happy with his wonderful plays on the field, specially this year, as he seems to have recovered his best level. And apart from being one of the best for his football skills, he is also amongst the ones who earn more, if not the best paid.
Things around Messi’s salary are not 100% accurate, as clubs never make public the players’ earnings. Leo Messi signed his last contract with Barça on May 2014, just before the World Cup. The extend didn’t change (2018) but according to several sources his salary improved from €13m up to €20 million —$22m— per season +€4 or 5 million —$4.4m – $5.4m— premium depending on results.
“He is the best, the number one, and he must also be the best paid,” said president Bartomeu. Indeed with this improvement Messi could overcome Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, around €18m per year, $20m), Rooney —Manchester United, €20.4m, $22.4m—, Falcao —Manchester United, €18.8m, $20.6m— or Ibrahimovic —PSG, €14.6m, $16m.
Earnings from sponsors
Well, until now we were talking about Messi’s salary only taking into account what the club pay to him. But the Argentine earns more than that.
He has many sponsors and external commercial contracts. According to the newspaper Marca on March 2014, these are Messi’s earnings from the sponsors. The main is Adidas —€8m per season—, and the global ones are Samsung —€3m—, Ooredoo —not specified—, Turkish Airlines —€1.5m—, EA Sports —€1.2m—, Gillette —not specified—, Pepsi —€0.9m—, Audemars Piguet —not specified—, Head&Shoulders —not specified— and SpaceScooter —not specified.
Furthermore, this newspaper announced Barça wanted to keep some of Messi’s rights of image, like Madrid are doing with Cristiano, but some sources explained that after his signing last May, the player kept them by himself. It must be said that numbers vary depending on the source.
Messi, the fourth best-paid athlete
Last November 4 2014, Forbes magazine published the list of the best-paid athletes, where Lionel Messi is on the fourth place and surpassed by another soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo. This means that, according to this source, with the image rights —not only with the club’s salary— the Portuguese earns more —€73m, $80m— money than Messi —€59m, $64.7m.
Not long ago, on March 6, 2015, the website ‘Goal’ published the TOP 20 of the richest footballers in the world. Messi is in the second position (overcome again by Cristiano Ronaldo) with a wealth of about €200 million —$220m, calculated from profits earn in the club + the sponsors. Neymar is in the third place with an estimated wealth of €135m.
And don’t forget: Messi earns extra money when he wins an award like Ballón d’Or or when Barça win a title. And don’t forget the World Cup and the earnings with the Argentine National Team.