Not many sports stars past and present have made that staggering amount during their careers.
But this week, Barcelona legend Lionel Messi topped Forbes’ richest athletes list and reached $1.3 billion (AUD) in pre-tax earnings.
He is the second footballer to do so, following in the footsteps of rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
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In his 16 years at the top, 33-year-old Messi has earned a mega salary playing for the Catalans and his bank balance has been boosted by endorsement deals.
On the top of that, he’s a hotelier, has a clothing line designed by Tommy Hilfiger’s sister and is set to open his own theme park.
Here’s how Messi made his fortune.
A HEFTY SALARY
This summer, Messi toyed with the idea of leaving the Camp Nou, where he rose through the ranks.
However, the Argentinian performed a sensational U-turn and insisted he would stay for another year — and with the hefty salary he is paid, you can’t blame him.
When Messi became Barcelona’s talisman at the age of 20, he was handed a contract worth $160,000-per-week, which made him one of the best paid players in the team at that time.
But today, after winning La Liga 10 times and four Champions League titles, they have heavily rewarded their iconic star with more dough.
Messi’s salary starts at $126 million-per-year, but that doesn’t include bonuses for winning trophies.
Should he play 60 per cent of Barcelona’s games until 2021, when his contract ends, he can earn somewhere in the region of $174 million.
And if he leads Barca to the treble, scooping the Ballon d’Or again (he has a record six already), that figure could be as much as an astonishing $195 million for the year.
Bear in mind, with his contract ending at the end of the season, he could earn more should he leave for pastures new.
The clamour to sponsor one of the game’s greats, as well as a man who has become such a role model for youngsters, is clear.
That’s why Messi has some of the world’s most famous companies queuing up to endorse him.
He makes a mouth-watering $42 million-per-year from endorsements alone, according to Forbes.
The biggest deal he has is a lifetime contract with Adidas he signed in 2017. That’s believed to bring in $16 million each year.
The German sports manufacturer has made him the face of their brand, and in 2015 he was the first footballer to release a sub-brand of Adidas boots, the Adidas Messi.
As the years pass, and when Messi finally hangs up his boots, that could be just as lucrative for the forward as the Air Jordan sub-band Nike created for Michael Jordan (another sporting billionaire) is.
Pepsi, Gatorade, Huawei, Budweiser and MasterCard are other brands that have jumped on the Messi bandwagon.
FASHION AND FAME
Last year, like Ronaldo, Messi made his first foray into the fashion world.
He released his clothing label, partnering with Ginny Hilfiger, and sells the range in his own shop, The Messi Store.
There, fashionistas can find leisurewear priced above high-street prices.
Bespoke Saville Row tailors Richard James also have a collaboration of fine suits through the Messi clothing line.
Maria Sol, Messi’s sister, is believed to play a major role in the creative process behind the range.
And Messi isn’t done with the thrillseeking just yet.
Although details are sparse, development is still ongoing for the Messi Experience Park, the world’s biggest football-themed park.
Based in China, it will feature various immersive exhibitions, live performances by robots and holograms, and will chronicle Messi’s rise from Rosario to global superstar.
PLACE TO STAY
In 2017, Messi became a hotelier, buying the MiM Sitges in a coastal resort near Barcelona for $46 million.
The four-star hotel with panoramic views of the ocean from its rooftop restaurant, bar and pool area has 77 rooms priced at around $210-per-night.
Close to the beach, it’s part of Messi’s growing portfolio of hotels.
In recent years, he has added resorts in Majorca and Ibiza to his real estate roster.
With all these plans in place, Messi has business ventures that’ll bring him millions when his playing days are behind him.
In fact, his name will probably still prop up on Forbes’ rich list for years to come.
This article was originally published on The Sun and was reproduced with permission