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 2019, the 32-year old was worth nearly $400 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. 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.
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.
The Argentine has spent his entire club career at FC Barcelona right from 2003. He honed his skills in the Barcelona youth team before earning a promotion to the senior team at the age of 18.
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.
Again, on the international scene, he is the third highest goalscorer for Argentina. He is only behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Indian striker, Sunil Chhetri.
Meanwhile, for the Blaugranes, he took the captain’s armband in 2018.
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 2019. As mentioned before, he is reportedly worth $400 million.
Messi averages an equivalent of about $35 million a year in this contract – or $646,000 a week.
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.
|Hieght||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Teams||Argentina, Barcelona C, Barcelona B, Barcelona|
|Endorsements||Gatorade, Adidas, Huawei, Lay’s, Mastercard, Pepsi, Hawkers, Gatorade, Ooredoo|