The star forward for Spain's FC Barcelona and captain of the Argentinian national team, Lionel Messi is second highest paid athlete in the world after Floyd Mayweather, according to Forbes. In 2017, Messi took home $111 million including over $80 million in earnings from a contract extension with FC Barcelona and an additional $27 million from endorsement deals. His total net worth reportedly stands at $400 million.
Messi was born in Argentina to working-class parents and diagnosed with a hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, Messi moved to Spain to play at Barcelona's academy, La Masia. As part of the move, the club agreed to cover the costs of his medical treatment.
Messi moved through the academy quickly, and made his debut with the first team at age 17. The rest, as they say, is history.
Messi has had one of the most successful careers of all time. Having spent his entire club career at Barcelona, he has won the Spanish League nine times, and the Champions League four, scoring 383 goals in 418 games. He is also a record-tying five-time recipient of the prestigious Ballon d'Or award, and a record-setting five-time recipient of the European Golden Boot.
He was the top scoring player for the 2017-18 season, with 47 goals in all matches, and he currently holds the record for goals scored for the Argentinian national team.
Contracts and Endorsements
Messi has a permanent lifetime deal with Adidas (ADDYY) that will likely make him more than $12 million a year. He also has an extended contract with FC Barcelona to last until the 2020-21 season, for which he is paid $33 million per year. These deals will effectively make him the highest-paid soccer player in the world.
Messi also has or had endorsement deals with companies such as Pepsi-Cola (PEP) and Huawei.
The soccer player will also have a theme park named after him in China come 2020, according to ESPN.
In July 2017, Messi and his father, Jorge, were convicted of tax fraud by the Spanish court and each sentenced to 21 months in prison. Spanish tax authorities claimed that Messi's earnings from deals with Pepsi-Cola, Proctor & Gamble (PG), and Adidas were directed to offshore accounts in South America for the purpose of avoiding income tax.
Messi appealed the case and the affair was heard again in the spring at the Spanish Supreme Court. The duo were convicted and subject to punishment, with Jorge serving only 15 months instead of the previous 21. In Spain, however, those with a short enough prison sentence (under two years) typically do not serve the time and instead serve probation. Messi and his father will also be paying 2 million and 1.5 million euros, respectively.