Following closely behind rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi is reportedly positioned to become the next billionaire athlete; and just the second soccer player in history to ever achieve this milestone. According to Forbes, the only thing Messi has to do is simply show up to FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou for training in September to cash his 2020/2021 season paychecks, and his career earnings will have officially crossed the US$1 billion threshold (that’s excluding other stream of income outside of the field).
At this point in time, however, Messi has reached a critical juncture. For those who haven’t been keeping track of the Argentine’s career, Messi has threatened to walk out on Barcelona – the very club he built a career with across 16 years – and by extension, threatened to walk out on the final year of his contract which does not expire until 2021. A contract, might I add, which also has the potential to make him the highest-paid soccer player of all time.
From the perspective of reaching a billion, Messi only stands to win. If he grits his teeth and sticks around with Barcelona – which is looking more and more unlikely considering the season that was, ending in a horrendous 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich – he’ll obviously reach a billion in career earnings.
But if he chooses to entertain outside offers from the likes of, oh I don’t know, Manchester City (who are reportedly “crunching numbers” to make his €700 million release clause financially tenable) – we can expect a phat transfer with an equally phat payday. What I’m trying to communicate in an extremely roundabout way is that the only club transfer that really matters is the one to the BBC (Billionaire Boys Club).
If all goes to plan, in addition to Ronaldo, Lionel Messi will join the billionaire ranks of Tiger Woods – the first active athlete to ever achieve this milestone – Floyd Mayweather, and our favourite holder of personal grudges, Michael Jordan.