Lionel Messi signed a new contract last week that will make him the highest-paid soccer player in the world at $27 million per year.
Going into the 2014 World Cup at age 26, Messi is already considered one of the best players ever and is already making $US40+ million with endorsements.
Despite that wealth and advertising exposure, he’s is one of the most private people in the sport.
He drives a $US200,000 car and lives in a nice house, but there may not be a more unknowable athlete in the world than Messi.
Messi is so valuable to Barcelona that if he ever leaves, the club that buys him will have to pay a $US340-million buy out.
Messi is one of the most private athletes in the world. There are only a few signs that he lives likes a guy who makes $US40 million per year.
He and a few extended family members live in a massive compound outside Barcelona. There's a top-notch Argentine asado set-up.
He still owns and maintains his childhood home in Argentina, even though no one lives there anymore.
He's known to take the occasional private plane, like when he went to the Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich.
But other than that Messi is fiercely private. We know that he has a long-time girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo.
We get the occasional glimpse into his lavish side, like when he wore a polka-dot suit to an awards ceremony.
Or when he agreed to have a gold cast of his foot made and sold to support Japanese tsunami relief (it went for $US5 million).
But unlike other modern athletes, he's not actively concerned with using his personal life to grow his brand. His Instagram is totally bland...
Since we know virtually nothing of Messi off the field, we focus solely on his brilliance on the field.
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