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Lionel Messi's deal could hit US$150 million before endorsements

Messi ranked second on Forbes' 2023 list of highest-paid athletes with US$130 million in annual earnings – half on the pitch and half in endorsements.

Reuters
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Argentina's Lionel Messi fights for the ball with Australia's Mathew Leckie during a friendly football match between Australia and Argentina at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing on June 15. Photo: AFP
Argentina's Lionel Messi fights for the ball with Australia's Mathew Leckie during a friendly football match between Australia and Argentina at the Workers' Stadium in Beijing on June 15. Photo: AFP

Lionel Messi and Inter Miami are finalising a megadeal worth up to US$150 million (about RM695.7 million) to bring the superstar to MLS, Sportico reported Monday.

That figure consists of salary, signing bonus and equity in the club and runs through the 2025 season with an option for 2026, per Sportico. Revenue-sharing agreements with Adidas, Apple and Fanatics, all of which are MLS partners, are not included in the initial figure.

Messi already has a lifetime deal with Adidas, per Forbes.

MLS is not subsidising the contract, and Messi will not have the same option to buy an MLS team that David Beckham received when he moved to MLS in 2007, Sportico reported. That option turned into Inter Miami, of which Beckham is a co-owner.

Messi, who turns 36 on Saturday, was the star of Argentina's 2022 World Cup championship team. He officially becomes a free agent at the end of this month when his contract at France's Paris Saint-Germain expires. He said on June 7 that he had selected Inter Miami over other overseas offers, including a reported US$400 million a year to play at Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal.

He is expected to debut with Inter Miami on July 21 against Liga MX team Cruz Azul in a home Leagues Cup match.

Messi's new deal will add to his already vast wealth. He ranked second on Forbes' 2023 list of highest-paid athletes with US$130 million in annual earnings – half on the pitch and half in endorsements.

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