The only move Lionel Messi really needs to make to become soccer’s next billion dollar man is none. If the star forward simply shows up at Barcelona’s Camp Nou in September, he will end the 2020-21 season with more than $ 1 billion in career earnings, a victory that only three athletes before him have won.
It seems that the high-fives will have to wait. After a year-long battle with FC Barcelona, the Argentine icon threatens to leave the club after 16 years, abandoning the final year of a contract that could make him the highest paid player in what he has become. most lucrative sport in the world.
After a disappointing season, the soccer superstar is watching Barcelona leave, but is still on track to reach that astronomical goal alongside Tiger Woods, Floyd Mayweather and, yes, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Tiger Woods was the first athlete to earn $ 1 billion while still competing when in 2009 he invested $ 10.5 million in prizes and more than $ 100 million in links, primarily through a sponsorship deal with Nike. Floyd Mayweather earned the honor in 2017 after a bet on himself that knocked legendary promoter Bob Arum out of his corner and led to a series of self-produced pay-per-view bouts that grossed more than $ 25 million 12 times, including $ 275 million for his 2017 fight with Conor McGregor. Messi’s rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, became the first team sports competitor to do so when he made $ 105 million during the 2019-20 season.
Michael Jordan, who amassed $ 550 million in earnings during his 15 years playing for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, remains the world’s only billionaire athlete, most of his fortune created by a timely investment in the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.
Messi’s arrival at the billion-dollar clubhouse will mark a climactic chapter in what has been football’s most expensive sideshow since 2009, when he and Ronaldo first met on teams competing in the Spanish League. The strutting and often shirtless Ronaldo perfected the sport’s showman’s mark, while the media-shy Messi was hailed as the unassuming, more interested in his footwork than footwear, such a prolific scorer. as a wingman and a master at crediting teamwork.