In the world of sports, where fortunes are made and dreams shattered, few names shine as bright as that of Lionel Messi. The Argentine football legend, often regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, made headlines once again, but this time not for his mesmerizing dribbles or breathtaking goals, but for his jaw-dropping earnings with Inter Miami in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Lionel Messi, who left Barcelona after two decades and joined Inter Miami in a historic transfer, is not only rewriting the story of his own career but is also causing ripples throughout the footballing world with his staggering income. According to the MLS Players Association, Messi’s annualized compensation from his MLS contract with Inter Miami stands at a mind-boggling $20.4 million USD. Yes, you read that right, $20.4 million!
To put this in perspective, Messi’s earnings surpass the entire payroll of almost all MLS teams, with only three other clubs able to boast a collective payroll greater than the legendary Argentine’s individual income. What’s even more astonishing is that Messi’s earnings are double the combined salaries of all the players in Orlando City, a clear indication of the vast economic gulf that Messi’s presence creates in the league.
Breaking down the numbers, Messi’s compensation package includes a base salary of $12 million, and when you add in bonuses and agent’s fees, it totals to $20,446,667. These figures are part of the 2023 salary update released by the players association. It’s important to note that these figures only cover Messi’s earnings from his MLS contract, which extends through the 2025 season. They do not account for any potential marketing deals or performance-based bonuses.
When compared to his peers in the league, Messi reigns supreme. His total compensation is miles ahead of the second-highest earner, Lorenzo Insigne of Toronto, who earns $15.4 million. Other notable names in the league, such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Javier Hernández, Federico Bernardeschi, and Sebastián Driussi, also pale in comparison to Messi’s colossal earnings.
Inter Miami sits atop the league in terms of payroll, boasting a staggering $39.4 million in total guaranteed compensation. Toronto, LA Galaxy, and LAFC follow closely behind, but none come close to challenging the financial might of Miami.
To put things in perspective, Messi’s earnings make up approximately 4% of MLS’s total compensation, which stands at $501.9 million. This statistic alone emphasizes the financial impact Messi has had on the league since his arrival.
On the field, Messi has not disappointed either. He has made three league starts and five appearances for Miami, amassing 283 minutes and netting a goal. He played a pivotal role in helping the team secure victory in the inaugural Leagues Cup, showcasing his skill and talent as he scored ten goals in just seven games.
Intriguingly, Josef Martínez is the second-highest-compensated player in Miami, with earnings of $4,391,667. While he’s undoubtedly a talented player in his own right, Messi’s arrival has certainly overshadowed him in terms of compensation.
Even more fascinating is the fate of two of Messi’s former Barcelona teammates who followed him to Miami. Midfielder Sergio Busquets, with a $1.5 million salary and $1,775,000 in guaranteed compensation, and defender Jordi Alba, with a $1 million salary and $1.25 million in guaranteed compensation, earn substantially less than their former colleague, highlighting the stark contrasts in earnings that Messi’s presence has introduced in the Miami squad.
In the world of sports, where fortunes are often created through endorsements and lucrative contracts, Lionel Messi’s journey to Inter Miami has redefined what it means to be a top-earning athlete. While some may question the financial disparities in sports, there is no denying the magnetic pull that Messi brings to the league and the global attention he has garnered. The story of Messi in Inter Miami is not just about money; it’s about how one individual can have a transformative effect on an entire league.