Lionel Messi is the highest-paid footballer in the world - and his Barcelona transfer saga in recent weeks has made it clear how much he earns.
The 33-year-old’s basic salary at the Nou Camp is worth £988,000-a-week, and he’ll be taking that home for at least one more year in Catalonia.
Alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, he is the most recognisable footballer on the planet, and many would peg him as arguably the greatest player to have graced the game. But what does he get up to off the pitch?
Unlike his great competitor, Messi carries a low profile, minus the past fortnight. He tries to stay out of the headlines as much as possible. His lifestyle is conducted behind closed doors. He is rather private.
Nevertheless, he has still conducted many business ventures during his career, from amazing charity work to a theme park, and Messi has put his name to lots of products and experiences throughout the years. Here, Daily Star Sport recounts some of his more well-known ventures.
Messi is most well-known for the vast sponsorship deals that he has signed throughout his career.
Chief among them is his lifetime Adidas deal. In 2017, Messi inked a permanent deal with Adidas that pays him north of $12 million per year. Messi signed his first sponsorship deal with Adidas in 2006 and has remained with the sportswear company throughout his career.
He became the face of the Adidas promotion, including becoming the first-ever footballer to release a sub-brand of Adidas boots, the Adidas Messi in 2015.
Messi’s branding extends far beyond Adidas. He has also penned massive deals with Pepsi, Dolce & Gabbana, Gatorade, Huawei, Mastercard, and many other big-name brands.
Per Forbes, Messi edged out Ronaldo as the highest-earning athlete in the world in 2019, in large part thanks to $35 million in endorsements.
The Lionel Messi clothing line
In July 2019, Messi released his own, personalised clothing line. The line was unveiled in partnership between Leo Messi Management and Ginny Hilfiger, the sister of designer Tommy Hilfiger.
Maria Sol, Messi’s sister, would play a key role in the creative process and largely represent the Messi brand throughout the project. “The Messi Store”, as it has been named, features a wide range of clothes that have a sporty edge.
“Welcome to The Messi Store, the official premium lifestyle brand of soccer legend Leo Messi,” the website reads. “The Messi Store specializes in creating quality clothes that boast a sporty edge for everyday life. Our chief brand goal is to extend the core of Leo’s values, vision, and sportsmanship from the pitch to the apparel.”
Jacob & co. Messi watch range
Earlier in 2016, Messi partnered with Jacob and Co. to release a Messi-inspired line of high-end watches.
The Swiss watch brand unveiled their first design, Messi: the Epic X Chrono Messi watch, before extending the line later in the year, releasing two new designs.
Those new designs included the $46,000 Epic X Chrono Rose Gold version which features an 18-carat 5N rose gold and titanium case and a $150,000 piece featuring 36 baguette-cut diamonds, weighing 4.55 carats. Only 36 in total were made.
The Lionel Messi theme park
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In 2017, it was announced that a Lionel Messi-inspired theme park would be built in China.
Mediapro unveiled the project in June in collaboration with the Phoenix Group and Leo Messi Management and billed the theme park as the chance to play alongside Messi himself in the Nanjing, China base.
Other features include the opportunity to trace through Messi’s career, including some of his greatest victories and most painful losses. The park includes robotic attractions, virtual and mixed reality spaces, holographic technology and performing arts events, all related to Messi and football.
It is scheduled to open in 2020 and Mediapro claim that it will be the largest football-dedicated theme park in the world.
The Lionel Messi foundation
It would be remiss to highlight Messi’s business ventures without mentioning his charity work, and especially the Leo Messi Foundation.
In 2007, a heartbreaking visit to Boston, Massachusetts inspired Messi to set up the foundation. “After having visited a hospital one day, I realised the special significance that a public figure has,” Messi once said. “I understood that seeing a well-known footballer could really help those ill children.”
The primary focus of the foundation is to help children around the world who are dealing with terminal illnesses and promote the education of child health issues and how it can impact children and their families.
The foundation is set to open a pediatric oncology centre at the Sant Joan de Deu hospital in Spain. The centre will be a state-of-the-art facility to aid with children dealing with cancer treatments.
The Leo Messi Foundation has also supported the Special Olympics since 2014, funds the Josep Carreras Foundation to promote research into childhood leukaemia, and has supported research into rhabdomyosarcoma, a tumour that often infects adolescents, including making a
£200,000 donation to Sant Joan de Déu hospital where his pediatric oncology centre will be based.
Messi is also an ambassador with UNICEF, which has seen him visit and donate to projects in Haiti, Syria, Bangkok, Nepal and Kenya. This included trips to and funding for schemes like the 'Back to Learning' scheme which helped children impacted by the Syrian war continue their education.