Free-agent superstar Lionel Messi joined French side Paris Saint-Germain in the most high-profile player move of the summer in Europe.
Reports state that Messi’s two-year contract with PSG gives him a $41 million annual net salary, including bonuses. The contract also contemplates an option for a third year.
In addition, The Athletic tacks on a near $30-million signing bonus, while Forbes reports that the player will also get a cut of player image rights, including jersey sales, which could potentially bump his annual salary up to the $75 million range.
That’s a big contract for any player, let alone a forward who has already turned 34. PSG will feel that money will be well-spent if Messi can take the club to the promised land: a first-ever UEFA Champions League trophy.
Lionel Messi joins PSG… HERE WE GO! Total agreement completed on a two-years contract. Option to extend until June 2024. Salary around €35m net per season add ons included. ???? #Messi
Messi has definitely accepted PSG contract proposal and will be in Paris in the next hours. pic.twitter.com/DiM5jNzxTA
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 10, 2021
Lionel #Messi total agreement with PSG: two-years contract. Option to extend until June 2024. Salary around €35m net per season. He will be in Paris in the next hours. His flight in El Prat is prepared. Medical review will be done today. He will wear the “30” t-shirt.
— Veronica Brunati ? (@verobrunati) August 10, 2021
Messi won the Champions League trophy four times in a storied career with FC Barcelona, the last one coming back in 2015. Meanwhile, PSG has been knocking on the door for the last several years with a trip to the final in 2020 (loss vs. Bayern Munich) and advancement to the tournament semis last year (eliminated vs. Manchester City).
Barcelona could not afford to keep the greatest player in its club’s history, and definitely not on those same terms. With heavy debts saddling the Spanish club, and the need to cut player salaries, Barcelona announced on August 5 that it had ended negotiations with Messi, who had become a free agent when his deal with Barcelona expired on June 30.
Barcelona could not keep Messi even after the Argentine star had agreed to a 50 percent wage cut in order to remain with the only club he’s ever known as a pro. Barcelona president Joan Laporta later revealed that adding Messi’s contract would have meant that player salaries would have represented 110 percent of club revenues, when league rules required that figure to be at 70 percent of revenues.
What was Messi’s salary at Barcelona?
That PSG money is chump change compared to what Messi made in his last contract with Barcelona.
Messi had the most lucrative contract in sports history based on a report by Spanish daily El Mundo, which published details of Messi’s deal with Barcelona after the 30-page contract was leaked to the outlet in January 2021.
Signed in 2017, the deal had a value of over $650 million over its four-year duration if various conditions were met. According to the report, it provided Messi a $161 million annual base salary, a $135 million signing bonus and a $91 million-plus loyalty payment.
Given those terms and astronomical fees paid for other players, it’s no wonder that FC Barcelona is saddled by debts projected to hover in the $1 billion range. That Barcelona contract expired on June 30, 2021, making Messi a free agent and setting up the move to free-spending Paris Saint-Germain.
How much does Cristiano Ronaldo make?
Ronaldo’s annual haul at Juventus has been slightly less than what Messi will be making at PSG.
The Portuguese superstar was acquired by Juventus for a $123 million transfer fee from Spanish giants Real Madrid. He then signed a four-year deal with the Italian club, which compensates him with an approximate $35 million annual net salary at the Italian club. That deal is set to expire in June 2022.
Similar to the reason PSG is acquiring Messi, Ronaldo was also brought in to help Juventus win the UEFA Champions League, but that hasn’t happened as he enters the final year of his four-year stay. They’ve never made the semifinals with Ronaldo, suffering elimination at the hands of second-tier contenders in the competition: Ajax (quarterfinals) Lyon (Round of 16) and Porto (Round of 16).
PSG will be hoping not to suffer a similar fate. Messi will be joined by a more star-studded cast than Ronaldo has had at Juventus: Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Sergio Ramos and Gigi Donnarumma to name a few.
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