The following article contains information about Argentine professional footballer Lionel Messi’s earnings, brand endorsement deals, investments and notable charity work.
Full Name – Lionel Andrés Messi
Date of Birth – 24 June 1987
Place of Birth – Rosario, Argentina
Nationality – Argentinian
Current club – Inter Miami CF (USA) | League – Major League Soccer (MLS)
Salary as Player – US$12 million gross per annum (as per Capology)
Earnings via endorsements and investment – US$65 million (2023) (as per Forbes)
First senior club appearance – 16 November 2003 for FC Barcelona in a friendly match against FC Porto. (Result – Porto 2 – 0 Barça)
First senior international appearance – 17 August 2005 for Argentina’s senior team in an international friendly match against Hungary. Messi was sent off two minutes into his senior international debut. (Result – Hungary 1 – 2 Argentina)
Sponsorship and brand endorsement deals
Lionel Messi’s Sponsors and Endorsements over the years : Adidas, Ooredoo, Lay’s, Gatorade, Pepsi, Jacob & Co., Budweiser, Mengniu, Pro Evolution Soccer, Orcam, Messicirque, Hard Rock International, SIRIN LABS, SikSilk, LEAFTY, Socios.com, Saudi Tourism Authority, Byju’s, Louis Vuitton, J&T Express
Lionel Messi first joined forces with Adidas began back in 2006. In February 2017, this relationship turned into a lifelong commitment when Messi signed a lifetime deal with the brand. As per media reports, the deal fetches Messi £18 million every year.
Messi has been associated with Qatar-based international telecommunications company Ooredoo since 2013. Over the years, he has featured in multiple campaigns for the brand spread across different media platforms.
In early 2014, PepsiCo’s potato chips brand Lay’s launched a major global integrated marketing campaign featuring Lionel Messi. Ever since then, Lay’s has done various advertising campaigns across different continents featuring the Argentine.
PepsiCo’s sports-themed beverage, Gatorade, is a brand partner of Lionel Messi. He shares the role of Gatorade’s ambassador with other sporting icons such as Usain Bolt, Elena Delle Donne, Jabari Parker, Dwyane Wade and PV Sindhu.
Since 2013, Messi has been an ambassador for the American beverage giant, frequently appearing in its ad campaigns.
In September 2020, global brewing giant Anheuser-Busch struck a partnership with Lionel Messi for its beer brand, Budweiser.
Hard Rock International
The Davie, Florida-headquartered global theme restaurants chain signed Messi as a worldwide brand ambassador in June 2021 on a five-year deal. The two kicked off the deal with a gift exchange, with Hard Rock regaling Messi with an electric guitar specifically designed for him, with the Argentine reciprocating the gesture by sending back a replica of one of his Ballon d’Or trophies.
The Scarborough-based fashion brand announced a collaboration with Messi in November 2021, launching The Messi x SikSilk collection. Maria Sol Messi, Leo’s younger sister, was a major driver behind the collaboration.
Messi signed a three-year deal with cryptocurrency-based fan engagement platform Socios.com, which is powered by Gzira, Malta-based blockchain fintech provider Chiliz, in March 2022. The US$20m deal made Messi the first-ever Global Brand Ambassador of Socios.com.
Having kicked off with the “Be More” campaign, the Socios.com-Messi partnership entails collaboration over both educational and promotional campaigns.
In 2018, Messi was roped in as a brand ambassador of China’s leading dairy product brand, Mengniu. Messi has been largely involved in the brand’s “Born for Greatness” campaign.
Pro Evolution Soccer (eFootball)
eFootball PES 2020 is a football simulation video game. Messi featured on its cover in 2019.
Despite its eFootball rebrand, Messi can be seen on the game’s cover.
In September 2020, Messi signed a three-year ambassadorship agreement with Israel-based eyecare brand OrCam Technologies.
Messi 10 by Cirque du Soleil, presented by Rakuten, is a film directed by Agustina Macri, featuring Lionel Messi, Afo Verde, Charles Joron, Jordi Puntí, José Manuel Pinto and Martin Riedel.
In May 2022, Messi featured in a 1m20s ad film released by American financial services provider Mastercard ahead of the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League Final, in which he starred both as an adult and a younger version of himself.
The Bangalore-headquartered Indian edtech firm on-boarded Messi as a global ambassador for its “Education for All” initiative in November 2022.
Online cryptocurrency exchange BitGet announced a collaboration with Messi in October 2022.
According to the official press release on the BitGet website, the agreement entails offering “Messi fans a unique opportunity to explore Web 3.0 and the potential of trading crypto on the exchange. There is also a shared understanding that the partnership will allow both parties to commit to more impactful efforts, extending beyond cryptocurrency and football.”
Jacob & Co.
Watchmaker Jacob & Co. roped in Lionel Messi as a brand ambassador in January 2019.
SIRIN LABS is a Schaffhausen-based tech company known best for its high-security smartphone “Finney”, which the company describes as “the first open source, secure smartphone and all-in-one PC”. The device is aimed at providing a portable, high-security solution for crypto-enthusiasts to protect their crypto assets without much hassle.
In December 2017, SIRIN LABS roped Messi in as one of its brand ambassadors. Messi promoted the startup and its products both in-person and via his social media profiles over the course of the partnership.
In November 2021, via his social media channels, Messi announced his partnership with LEAFTY, a cryptocurrency conceived with the aim to protect the environment and deal with the stigma around the idea of cryptocurrency.
Saudi Tourism Authority
Messi was announced as a brand ambassador for the tourism authority of Saudi Arabia in May 2022. He kicked off the partnership via a sponsored post from his Instagram account.
In November 2022, on the eve of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, French luxury house Louis Vuitton posted a photo across its social media accounts featuring Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the two coming together for a rare joint paid collaboration.
The Jakarta-headquartered Indonesian logistics company announced Messi as its first global brand ambassador in November 2022. Brought on board to boost the company’s global profile, Messi headlined the #JTBetterTogether campaign, which was the company’s first activation featuring the Argentine.
Free-to-play battle royale game PUBG Mobile announced a collaboration with Messi in October 2022. The collaboration entailed several unique in-game experiences for the players.
Messi first partnered with NFT marketplace Ethernity in August 2021 to create “The Messiverse”, which was aimed at showcasing his career and achievements.
In November 2022, ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Ethernity announced another Messi-focused NFT experience that would showcase the Argentine’s performances at the World Cups over the years.
Sorare is a blockchain-based digital collectibles and fantasy football platform developed by Saint-Mandé, Paris-headquartered French company SORARE SAS.
It was announced in November 2022 that Messi had been on-boarded by Sorare as an investor and a brand ambassador.
Before he went on to secure a lifetime deal with Adidas, Messi worked with Nike during his early years. Nike had a boot deal in place with the Argentine from the age of 14, but, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal by Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg, who have also co-written Messi vs. Ronaldo: One Rivalry, Two GOATs, and the Era That Remade the World’s Game, things turned sour when Jorge Messi, Leo’s father and agent, was not granted the request of being provided with some athletic gear for his son, leading him to believe that his son was not being given due respect, especially with Adidas in the background having already—reportedly—offered him a US$1m contract.
Ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Messi was set to be a part of a Nike ad film, in which he was to showcase his skills and tricks. The footage had already been captured, but all of it had to be scrapped when Nike was made aware of the fact that Messi had agreed a deal with Adidas. Not willing to go down without a fight and believing it had a legally-binding agreement in place with Messi, Nike took Adidas to court, only for the Spanish officials to rule in the German company’s favour, telling Nike that a letter of commitment was not enough to keep Adidas from prying away the young starlet.
Nike consoled itself with the same explanation that worried Adidas — that a shy and private Messi was not marketable enough and might not reach the commercial heights Cristiano Ronaldo was projected to overcome. Suffice to say, that has been proven wrong over the years. February 2006 saw Messi sport the Adidas boots for the first time, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Gillette signed Messi in as a global ambassador in February to feature in their Inner Steel marketing campaign.
Turkish airlines signed Messi as a global ambassador in July 2012, a deal that gave us the famous ad with the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant.
The Messi Store
Messi launched his own global lifestyle clothing brand in 2016. Since June 2020, The Messi Store is led by Ginny Hilfiger, famed designer and sister of a certain Tommy Hilfiger, who serves as Creative Director alongside Maria Sol Messi, who serves as Brand Manager.
Inter Miami CF | Major League Soccer (MLS)
Messi’s move to the US came on the back of not just a substantial salary package offered by Inter Miami CF, but also a lot of added incentives.
As explained ahead of his move to the US in the summer of 2023, Messi not only has a potential stake option in the club, which comes into effect after his player contract with them ends, he’s also getting a part of the revenue generated by Apple TV’s MLS Season Pass, with the league partners—Adidas, in particular—paying him portions of their earnings. For all intents and purposes, this unprecedented arrangement sees Messi hold a stake in MLS itself while he plays for the David Beckham-owned side.
Messi’s current contract with Inter Miami CF is set to run until the end of the 2025 MLS season, with the option to extend it for another year.
Agüero, a teammate of Messi’s in the Argentina national team set-up, announced Messi’s investment via X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.
Notable charity work
- Messi has a non-profit to his name, called the Leo Messi Foundation, which was created in 2007 and contributes to social causes all around the world.
- Having worked with them since 2004, Messi became UNICEF’s Global Goodwill Ambassador in March 2010. Aside from charity work, Messi also features in their promotional campaigns.
- In 2017, the Leo Messi Foundation helped UNICEF install 20 new classrooms in Tartus, Syria, to enable thousands of children to get proper education.
- In February 2019, Messi reportedly donated €200,000 to UNICEF projects in Kenya that were aimed at providing thousands of children access to free drinking water and proper food.
- In March 2020, Messi donated roughly €1 million for the fight against coronavirus. The amount was split between Hospital Clinic in Catalunya and another hospital in Messi’s hometown, Rosario.
- In February 2021, Messi donated the boots he played in to break Pelé’s record of most goals scored for one club to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). In April 2021, the museum auctioned the boots off for US$173,000, with all proceeds going towards the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital’s “Art and Health” programme.