Lionel Messi: Net Worth, Transfer Fees, Goalscoring Records & More
Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football players of all time, is on the cusp of a career-defining achievement after helping Argentina reach the 2022 World Cup final.
Aged 35, the record six-time Ballon d’Or winner has racked up over 1,000 appearances for club and country en route to amassing countless records.
But despite lifting the Champions League crown on four occasions during his trophy-laden stint at Barcelona, the left-footed magician has yet to acquire the one trophy that would help him stand out among his peers.
Widely considered the best-ever footballer as well as the highest-paid athlete, Messi has found it hard to get out of Diego Maradona’s shadow due to his inability to win the World Cup with Argentina.
He came agonisingly close to taking home the Jules Rimet trophy in 2014, but Germany eked out a 1-0 win in the grand final, crushing La Albiceleste’s dream of winning their first World Cup since 1986.
Eight years on, Lionel Scaloni’s men are one step away from breaking the drought as Messi inspired his country to a thumping 3-0 victory over Croatia in the semi-finals, chipping in with a goal and one assist.
In doing so, the current Paris Saint-Germain superstar has become Argentina’s all-time top scorer at the World Cup, surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s ten-goal tally.
No matter whom they will face in the grand final, France or Morocco, Messi & Co will be out to rewrite history and potentially facilitate La Pulga’s bid to leapfrog his idol Maradona in the all-time pecking order.
Messi spent 17 memorable years at Barcelona before swapping the Spotify Camp Nou for Paris in 2021.
During his time in Spain, he had a godlike status among the Catalan faithful. As Barca’s all-time top scorer and their best-ever performer, he earned the right to become the world’s highest-paid player at the time.
His earth-shattering 2017 contract with the Blaugrana handed La Pulga an average annual salary of $168 million, making him the highest earner in world football by some margin.
In addition to his blockbuster contracts at Barcelona, Messi maintained several lucrative income streams off the pitch, pocketing around $40m per year from endorsements.
His current deal at the Parc des Princes secures him a ‘modest’ $75m per year, taking his overall earnings to over $1 billion.
Yet, per reports, Messi is not a billionaire, unlike his arch-nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo. The Argentina captain’s net worth is estimated at around $600m.
Messi dedicated his life to Barcelona after joining the club’s youth academy at the age of 13, becoming one of the symbols of the club he helped re-establish as a force to be reckoned with in Spain and Europe.
Despite attracting plenty of interest from the Premier League, the Argentine was seemingly heading towards a single-club professional career, starting and ending with the Blaugrana.
No one could’ve believed he would leave Camp Nou after putting pen to paper on a massive contract in 2017, which made him the world’s highest-paid athlete.
However, Barcelona’s financial turmoil, strengthened by the team’s decline on multiple fronts, saw Messi wave goodbye to his boyhood club in the summer of 2021 and join PSG.
It sounds bizarre that a player of his calibre swapped allegiances without a compensation fee, but he was already out of contract in Spain before signing a two-year contract with Les Parisiens.
As things stand, Messi will go down in history as one of the best players to touch the football pitch without any club ever having to pay a dime to acquire his services.
Messi was breaking records for fun at Barcelona, almost single-handedly carrying them to 35 major titles, including ten in La Liga and four in the Champions League.
For over half a century, Cesar Rodriguez had been the Blaugrana’s top goalscorer with 232 in official matches, but it took La Pulga only eight years to reach that figure.
The Argentine forward would go on to triple that amount and clock up as many as 672 goals for the La Liga heavyweights, a record meant to stand the test of time.
In 2011/12, he notched up a staggering 50 goals in a single La Liga season, becoming the only player to achieve that milestone, but it gets better.
With 474 La Liga goals under his belt, including a record-breaking 36 hat-tricks, Messi is the all-time top scorer in the competition, which is over 160 more than second-placed Ronaldo.
As one of the most prolific forwards in football history, he has acquired the European Golden Shoe on a record-time six occasions, leaving his arch-rival Ronaldo behind at four.
In 2012, Messi set a formidable milestone that is unlikely to be rivalled anytime soon.
He tallied a mesmerising 91 goals in only 69 appearances for club and country, accounting for the most goals across a single calendar year.
He has also claimed more Ballon d’Or awards (seven) than any other player. In addition to being the youngest player to win the prize three times, he remains the only one to achieve that feat four times on the trot.
Messi has won everything there’s to win in club football, but he has often encountered contrasting fortunes on the international stage.
No one can accuse him of a lack of trying, though. He had found himself on the losing side in three Copa America finals before finally conquering the competition in 2021.
The World Cup is often considered a pinnacle of the footballer’s career, and Messi is now within touching distance of covering himself in glory that would cement his football legacy.
After guiding Argentina to the Copa America title last summer, he is one victory away from taking his country to the World Cup throne, having helped La Albiceleste reach the showpiece in Qatar.
At 35, he probably won’t have another opportunity to win the Jules Rimet trophy and there’s no doubt he will fight tooth and nail to make it happen.
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