How Much Was Lionel Messi’s Miami Contract? It Could Be 9 Figures

He turned down a contract worth $1 billion dollars to play for a Saudi soccer league, so football fans are clamoring to know how much Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami contract is worth.

The Argentine athlete is one of the most sought-after football players in the world. From a young age, he showed great potential and made his professional debut for Barcelona FC at the age of 17. He led the team to victory by winning his first Ballon d’Or at age 22 and did so again for four years in a row. He played for Barcelona for more than 16 years, but in 2020, the team announced that they could not afford to pay out his salary and he subsequently moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2021. After announcing that the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar would be his last, many were speculating where the living legend would go next.

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On June 7, 2023, news broke that Messi was signing for Major League Soccer club Inter Miami and rejecting an offer from Saudi Arabia in the process. “I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami,” he told the Spanish publication Sport, adding that there are a few details still to iron out. “I still don’t have it 100 percent closed or something is missing, but well, we decided to continue the path there.”

How much is Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami contract?

How much is Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami contract? We don’t know, the actual financials haven’t been disclosed yet, but the outlet Sport reported that Messi has been offered a four-year deal, though, at age 35, he might be targeting the 2026 World Cup in the US as the cherry on top of his impressive career.

Lionel Messi
Image: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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According to The Athletic, both Apple and Adidas are helping sweeten the deal. Apple has offered a share of the revenue from MLS Season Pass subscriptions, and Adidas has also offered an arrangement for a profit-sharing agreement that will involve Messi receiving a share of the increased profits from his move.

When rumblings of Messi moving to the States began over a year ago, most reports claimed that he would be offered a 35 percent stake in Inter Miami, which has been valued at $600 million by Forbes-35 percent of $600 million is $210 million. The club’s owner, Jorge Mas, hopes Messi can help realize Mas’ dream of making Miami “the gateway for soccer, not only in South Florida but in the Americas,” as he described in a 2019 interview.

“The truth is that I had offers from another European team, but I didn’t even evaluate it because in Europe my only idea was to go to Barcelona,” Messi told Sport. “After winning the World Cup and not being able to go to Barça, it was time to go to the United States League to live football in a different way and enjoy more day to day. Obviously with the same responsibility and desire to want to win and to always do things well. But more calmly.”

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Messi’s net worth is estimated at $660 million, which makes him the most lucrative athlete in the world. In 2019 and 2022, Forbes listed him as number one on their top 10 Most Highest Paid Athletes in the World, with NBA basketball legend LeBron James as second, and fellow soccer player and archrival Cristiano Ronaldo as third place. According to the business magazine, the Paris Saint-Germain player received $75 million on-field while gaining a further $50 million off-field in sponsorship deals and endorsements.

While at Barcelona, Messi reportedly had a base salary of $168 million in 2017 when he renewed his contract. In previous years, his salary was about $44 million. Celebrity Net Worth also reported that since the start of his career, he has earned $1.3 billion from endorsements and salary combined. By their count, he has earned around $900 million in salary to date and $400 million from endorsements. In August 2021, Barcelona announced that the team could not offer a renewal due to being in debt and following years of overspending and the financial ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, the club said, “Despite having reached an agreement between Barça and Leo Messi and with the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, it will not be possible to formalize due to economic and structural obstacles (Spanish LaLiga regulations)”.

Lionel Messi
Image: by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Messi wanted to stay at his long-term football club and previously stayed with a 50 percent pay cut to help Barca economically. When his departure was announced on August 6, 2021, he cried in a press conference along with fellow teammates, midfielder Frenkie de Jong and striker Sergio Aguero.

Two days later, he signed with Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer. His base salary for the team was smaller than his Barcelona earnings, with an annual contract of $75 million a year. After taxes, his earnings are estimated to be around $40 million dollars. However, according to Mirror UK, he wasn’t the top-earning player on the team. Fellow soccer superstar Neymar receives a monthly salary that tops €4 million ($4,129,920 USD) slightly more than Messi’s €3.375 million ($3,484,569.)

In November 2022, Messi announced that the 2022 FIFA World Cup would be his last and his rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, announced the same. When asked if it was his last via CNN, Messi responded, “Yes. Surely yes. There’s a lot of years until the next one and I don’t think I have it in me and finishing like this is best. [I feel] a lot of happiness to be able to achieve this. To finish my World Cup career playing my last game in a final. Everything I’ve lived in this World Cup, what people experienced and how much the people back in Argentina are enjoying it all is very emotional.” He continued. “I’m enjoying everything a lot, I feel strong to be able to face each match. We’ve come along making a lot of big sacrifices, like playing the extra time which wasn’t easy. We were tired but the group gave that little bit more, it was a very tough game which went the way we prepared for. We knew they would have the ball a lot and that we would have our chances. It was a well-prepared match like we always manage, and I’m happy, I’m enjoying it all a lot.”

In a quote that’s attributed to Messi, he claims that he doesn’t play the game for the money. “Money is not a motivating factor,” he said. “Money doesn’t thrill me or make me play better because there are benefits to being wealthy. I’m just happy with a ball at my feet. My motivation comes from playing the game I love. If I wasn’t paid to be a professional footballer, I would willingly play for nothing.”

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