Argentinian football maestro Lionel Messi is up for grabs. That’s the rumour that’s set the hearts of club managers across Europe racing — and it seems Chelsea could be first in line to snap up the four-time winner of the Ballon d’Or.
How much does he earn?
But he won’t come cheap. CIES Football Observatory rates Messi as the most valuable player in the world, with a price tag in the region of £172m. And then there’s his annual salary — over $US20m. Combined with sponsorship deals for Pepsi, Adidas and Turkish Airlines, The Daily Beast reckons he takes home around $US65m a year.
Is he a saver or a spender?
That depends or what you call a “spender.” Messi’s spending habits are status-appropriate: a Maserati GranTurismo, an Audi Q7, and a Ferrari F430 Spider are three of the cars in his collection. And of course, then there are the holidays in Ibiza, not to mention his luxury mansion in Barcelona.
Any rich guy hobbies?
Lionel Messi is a family man. And who can blame him? The 27-year-old lives with his glamorous yet non-famous girlfriend Antonella Roccuzzo with whom he has a two-year-old son named Tiago.
What’s been his best financial move?
From a young age, Messi suffered from a hormone deficiency, which affected his growth. Barcelona promised to cover his medical expenses, and was in such a hurry to sign the child prodigious from Rosario, Argentina, that his first contract was scrawled on a napkin. He’s been with the club ever since.
And his worst?
An investigation into his finances between 2007 and 2009 turned up accusations of tax evasion. If convicted, Messi faced up to six years behind bars, so it wasn’t too surprising he agreed to pay $US6m in back-taxes and interest. As The Daily Beast notes, employing his father Jorge as his money manager probably wasn’t the best idea.
In 2007, Messi foundered the Leo Messi Foundation. Its mission is to help “vulnerable” children gain access to sport and education. He’s also been a good-will ambassador for Unicef since 2010.
Has money made him happy?
“Money is not a motivating factor. Money doesn’t thrill me or make me play better because there are benefits to being wealthy. I’m just happy with a ball at my feet. My motivation comes from playing the game I love. If I wasn’t paid to be a professional footballer I would willingly play for nothing.” — Lionel Messi.