Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi

Argentine striker Lionel Messi is regarded as one of the best ever footballers of his generation. His level of skill is par excellence with that of rival Cristiano Ronaldo. In 2021, the 34-year-old is set to feature for French giants Paris Saint-Germain and is worth nearly $600 million.

It may seem hard to believe that someone who was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child would become a football sensation, but Messi was undoubtedly saved by his athletic abilities with the ball at his feet.

Messi's career hasn't been all laurels, unfortunately. He was heavily involved in a tax fraud case in 2013. Offshore companies in tax havens Uruguay and Belize were used to evade €4.1 million in taxes. This was in relation to sponsorship earnings between 2007 and 2009.

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A company in Panama was identified as belonging to the Messi family in the Panama Papers data leak. Messi pleaded ignorance of the alleged scheme, voluntarily paid arrears of €5.1 million in August 2013.

On 6 July 2016, Messi and his father were both found guilty of tax fraud and were handed suspended 21-month prison sentences and respectively ordered to pay €1.7 million and €1.4 million in fines.

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 13: Lionel Messi warms up during a Paris Saint-Germain training session at Ooredoo Center on August 13, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier - PSG/PSG via Getty Images)

On-pitch Achievements

The Argentine made his debut with the Spanish giants FC Barcelona in 2003. Before his professional debut with the club at the age of 18, Messi honed his skills with the revered youth academy, the 'La Masia.'

Interestingly, he almost left the club in 2005. As it turned out, Serie A side, Juventus wanted to get him on a loan. Their rivals, Inter Milan, wanted to straight up buy him and were even willing to shell out money for his $150 million release clause. But in the end, he elected to stay with Barca.

Messi has helped Barcelona to the La Liga title on ten occasions. He has also clinched the Copa del Rey six times and the Champions League four times.

In terms of international trophies, Messi guided Argentina to the U-20 World Cup glory in 2005. In 2008, he also helped the 'Albiceleste' to an Olympic gold.

His long wait for International silverware finally came to an end in 2021 when he led the South American giants to a Copa America victory over rivals and record world champions Brazil as they beat them 1-0 in the Finals. He is the third highest active goalscorer in the world right now, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Indian striker Sunil Chhetri.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 08: (EDITOR'S NOTE: Alternate crop) Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona faces the media during a press conference at Nou Camp on August 08, 2021 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

While he captained the Blaugranes, from 2018, the Spanish giants failed to keep their talismanic forward with the club. In 2021, while the Argentine and Barcelona had an agreement on a contract, Financial Fair Play rules meant that signing Messi would be a breach of the code of conduct.

This meant that the Spanish giants lost Messi, who understandably was distraught leaving his boyhood club.

Eventually, the Argentine ended up signing a new contract with French giants Paris Saint-Germain. Joining former teammate Neymar Jr. and other stars like Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria, Messi now joins a loaded PSG side who looks like a team on a mission.

The 6-time Ballon D'or winner is entering a new phase of his career and will be wearing a different team's jersey for the first time in the last 21-years. PSG might be the perfect place for the Argentine to thrive who will look to add to his ever-increasing trophy cabinet.

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 11: Lionel Messi poses with his jersey next to President Nasser Al Khelaifi after the press conference of Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes on August 11, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sebastien Muylaert/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi’s Net Worth, Salary and Endorsement

Currently, the highest paid soccer player, along with his impressive endorsement deals, he was ranked by Forbes as the highest-paid athlete in the world in 2021. As mentioned before, he is reportedly worth $600 million.

Messi averages an equivalent of about $41 million a year in this contract - or $854,000 a week.

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Foundations and Charity Work

Messi has been involved in charitable efforts aimed at vulnerable children. His commitment stems from the medical difficulties he faced in his own childhood. Since 2004, he has contributed his time and finances to UNICEF. The organisation has a strong association with FC Barcelona. Messi has even served as a UNICEF goodwill ambassador since his appointment in March 2010.

Messi founded his own charitable organisation, the Leo Messi Foundation, which supports access to health care, education, and sport for children.

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Age34
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Marital StatusMarried
SpouseAntonella Roccuzzo
ResidenceCastelldefels
NationalityArgentina
TeamsArgentina, Barcelona C, Barcelona B, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain
EndorsementsGatorade, Adidas, Huawei, Lay's, Mastercard, Pepsi, Hawkers, Gatorade, Ooredoo