After moving from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, Lionel Messi shouldn’t eat a sandwich less. In the past 12 months, according to Forbes business magazine, 124.7 million euros have been added to his bank account. He still has to pay taxes on that.
€124.7 million is the same amount as last year, although Messi was only second at the time. In 2021, mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor stood above the rest with $180 million. It is remarkable that the Irish made money mainly by investing in whiskey.
Messi also owes his top spot this year in large part to his trade deals.
His Paris salary slip shows an annual amount of €72m, more than €20m less than in his last year in Barcelona, but this makes up for around €53m in sponsorship income.
Lionel Messi signed a deal in March with Socios, a digital “fan sharing” app built on blockchain technology. The Argentine receives $20 million annually for this. Additionally, Messi is also an ambassador for Adidas, Budweiser, and PepsiCo, among others.
There is a clear trend of partnering with sponsors from the new free (and not uncontroversial) world of cryptocurrency and NFT.
Number two on the list, LeBron James, struck a deal with Crypto.com in January. In addition, LeBron has sold shares in a manufacturing company and has many other interests besides the field. In total, he earned nearly double what he earns off the field. On the field: 39.5 million euros. Off the field: 76.7 million.
Neymar, who is fourth on the list, also signed a contract with NFTSTAR, a company focused on NFTs, in November.
Unlike LeBron, Neymar (like Messi) still earns more from his club than sponsorship deals. PSG pays Neymar – despite the disappointing results – 67 million euros a year. In addition, the Brazilian has a good “side income” of 24 million euros thanks to sponsorship contracts.
There is no mention of a woman in the top ten in Forbes magazine. Of all the men in the top ten, only Giannis Antikonmo was not yet thirty.
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