And here we go again. It's almost comical at this point. A certain publication has reported that soccer player Lionel Messi has EARNED a billion dollars in his career and bested Cristiano Ronaldo to become the second footballer to earn a billion. The key word here is EARN. Just because Lionel Messi has amassed $1 billion in earnings before tax throughout his entire career does not make him a billionaire, but those are the headlines the internet is running with today. Read closely, people. Messi has earned a billion and he has a net worth of $400 million. The earnings statement clearly says this is before tax. It also doesn't take into account any fees paid to managers and agents or any debt in the form of mortgages and car loans. Messi is one of the best footballers in the game and he is extraordinarily wealthy, but he is NOT a billionaire.
Messi is a six-time Ballon d'Or winner. He will make $126 million this year in salary and endorsements. He is the face of Adidas and has other deals with Pepsi and video game company Konami. He also recently released his own beer through Budweiser. He is the highest-paid soccer player of the year. Ronaldo trails him with $117 million in earnings this year.
Hey, we can see how if you're not paying close attention a headline that reads something like "Lionel Messi becomes football's second billionaire…" and also "beats Cristiano Ronaldo in" that other publication's rich list you would believe it. However, if you read beyond the headline it becomes clear that Messi and Ronaldo are not actually billionaires, they've both just earned that total over their careers. They haven't even seen that total because the $1 billion is pre-tax.
Messi recently tried to leave Barcelona by exercising a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave the team for free – meaning any team that picked him up would not have to pay his hefty release clause. The team denied that he was still eligible to exercise that option. On September 4, he announced that he was staying in Barcelona as the team made it "impossible" for him to depart.
Messi has been playing soccer professionally for 16 years. He's currently playing for La Liga club Barcelona as well as Argentina's national team. His contract runs until the summer of 2021. If he wins FIFA's Player of the Year award, his salary and earnings will go over $141 million.