Lionel Messi Net Worth and Tax Fraud Conviction

The Lionel Messi net worth figure of $174.9 million comes from his Barcelona football team salary and from numerous endorsement deals. A tax fraud conviction on July 7, 2016 marks the second time in two weeks that Messi has shocked the world. The first was his announcement that he would retire from the Argentina national team after its crushing loss to Chile in late June during a game in the UEFA Euro 2016. Messi has earned a total of $379 million during his career, with $223 million of that coming from salary and $156 million from endorsements. Based on Spain’s top tax rate of 45%, Messi should have paid $171 million in taxes since 2003. According to reports, he has been convicted of dodging taxes on 4.16 million euros of his endorsement income. He and his father now paid back the money plus interest and have been fined a total of $3.87 million, knocking the Lionel Messi net worth number down from $180 million. Messi has shelled out an estimated $38 million in expenses and made $9.7 million in investment income since 2003. Lionel Messi Net Worth

Lionel Messi Net Worth Facts

Lionel Messi Net Worth Facts
Lionel Messi Net Worth$174,862,104
Lionel Messi net worth vs Cristiano Ronaldo net worth8% bigger
Lionel Messi net worth vs Tom Brady net worth5% bigger
Lionel Messi net worth vs Peyton Manning net worthAbout the same
Lionel Messi net worth vs LeBron James net worth20% smaller
Lionel Messi net worth vs Dwyane Wade net worth13% bigger
Lionel Messi net worth vs Kobe Bryant net worthHalf as big
Lionel Messi net worth vs Floyd Mayweather net worthHalf as big
Lionel Messi net worth vs Barack Obama net worth53 times bigger
Lionel Messi net worth vs typical American family net worth2,654 times bigger

The Lionel Messi net worth sum of $174.9 million is more money than some sports stars have and less than others. The fortune is 8% bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth of $167 million and 5% bigger than Tom Brady’s net worth of $172 million. It’s about the same as Peyton Manning’s $191 million. LeBron James has 20% more than the Lionel Messi net worth amount with $223 million. Messi has 13% more money than Dwyane Wade at $159 million and half as much as Kobe Bryant’s $319 million. Floyd Mayweather’s $403 million makes him twice as rich as Messi, while Messi has 53 times as much net worth as U.S. President Barack Obama with $3.4 million. Finally, Messi has 2,654 times the money of the typical American family with $68,000.

Messi announced after his team’s loss in the Copa America final that he would retire from the Argentina national team. He was noticeably devastated after the loss to Chile, but he may rethink his retirement after a period of reflection. The famed footballer is only two years from a chance to win the World Cup, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with him physically. Retirement won’t directly affect the Lionel Messi net worth figures because he earns his salary from the Barcelona team, not the Argentina national team. It will however decrease his pull with companies seeking to forge endorsement deals with him.

Lionel Messi Net Worth Timeline

Lionel Messi Net Worth Timeline

Lionel Messi Net Worth by Year
Lionel Messi net worth 2003$5,400
Lionel Messi net worth 2004$230,489
Lionel Messi net worth 2005$1,134,292
Lionel Messi net worth 2006$2,953,008
Lionel Messi net worth 2007$5,701,733
Lionel Messi net worth 2008$16,307,811
Lionel Messi net worth 2009$29,356,890
Lionel Messi net worth 2010$43,521,279
Lionel Messi net worth 2011$57,919,380
Lionel Messi net worth 2012$73,455,050
Lionel Messi net worth 2013$89,247,058
Lionel Messi net worth 2014$119,159,634
Lionel Messi net worth 2015$149,565,768
Lionel Messi net worth 2016$174,862,104

The Lionel Messi net worth story started back in 2003. Messi joined the Barcelona C team in that year. He swiftly rose through the ranks, making it as a starter for Barcelona by 2005 and boosting his salary to $2 million per year. By 2008 the player had signed a contract guaranteeing him $14.4 million per year. Endorsement deals began to flood in at that point, with Messi leading his team to six highest-tier victories in 2009. Messi and his team won the Ballon d’Or in 2009. Since then, he has become the first player ever to win three Golden Shoes. He won five FIFA Ballons d’Or in a row. With Barcelona he won four UEFA Champions League titles and eight La Liga titles. He also won four Copas Del Rey. He holds the record for the most goals ever scored in a calendar year (91) in a La Liga season (50) and in a single season (73).

Lionel Messi Net Worth Sources: Football, Endorsements

The Lionel Messi net worth fortune comes from his football salary, which is over $43 million in 2016, and endorsement deals hatched from his football fame, which topped $20 million this year. That makes a total salary of $63.2 million in 2016 and an average salary of $27 million since his rise to fame in the mid-2000s. All in all, Messi has earned $379.5 million since 2003.

Lionel Messi Net Worth Sources
Total Lionel Messi Earnings$375,602,000
Lionel Messi Salary (average)$26,828,714
Lionel Messi Salary 2016$59,330,000
Losses (Tax fraud fines)-$3,870,000
Lionel Messi Net Worth$174,862,104

Lionel Messi Net Worth from Football Salary: $233 Million

The table below shows Messi’s football salary since 2003. In that first year of his professional sports career, Messi played for Barcelona C and earned an estimated $12,000. By 2004 he had moved up to Barcelona B and in 2005 he became a starter for the Barcelona senior team. He has remained on that team through 2016, earning $233 million total. The big boost in Messi’s salary in 2009 represents a fresh contract with Barcelona in that year. Another big boost in 2014 is from his contract in that year. He also plays for the Argentina national team, but there’s no salary involved in that team since it’s a non-professional league. For non-football fans, it’s kind of like an NBA star not getting paid for playing on an Olympic team, except Messi’s position on the Argentina team has lasted for 12 years.

Lionel Messi Net Worth from Football Salary
YearEstimated Earnings
Total Lionel Messi Net Worth from Football Salary$223,472,000

Lionel Messi Net Worth from Endorsement Deals: $156 Million

There’s no way of knowing exact dollar figures on how much endorsement deals contribute to the Lionel Messi net worth figures. However, we can make a very educated estimate of $156 million based on the various companies Messi has signed deals with, plus known figures for other endorsement deals from other sports stars around the world. Messi has had deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Konami, Gatorade, Samsung, Turkish Airlines, Gilette, Dolce & Gabbana, Audemars Piguet, and EA Sports. Those are huge companies and they don’t skimp when it comes to deals with big name players. Based on other sports stars approaching Messi’s level of notoriety, Messi most probably started signing big endorsement deals in 2008. Figuring those deals at about 70% of his salary gives us our figure of $156 million. That’s probably a fairly close estimate, given Tiger Woods’ $48 million single year endorsement haul and LeBron James’ endorsements in excess of $20 million a year.

Lionel Messi Earnings from Endorsements
YearEstimated Earnings
Total Lionel Messi Earnings from Endorsements$156,000,000

Lionel Messi Net Worth Calculations

It would be a very good thing for the Lionel Messi net worth numbers if earnings was the same thing as net worth. Taxes and expenses have something to say about that, however, as do investments. Messi may play for the Argentina national team, but he has dual citizenship and pays Spain’s top tax rate of 45% on his income for the Barcelona team. That adds up to $171 million in taxes since 2003. Expenses figured at 10% of annual income reflect Messi’s fees for agents, cost of living, training and other layouts. Investments add an estimated 6% to the Lionel Messi net worth total for a $9.7 million perk. The table below shows Messi’s total earnings from salary and endorsements. The adjustments column folds in taxes, expenses and investments.

Lionel Messi Net Worth Calculations
YearLionel Messi Salary and EndorsementsAdjustments (Tax, Expense, Investment)Lionel Messi Net Worth
Lionel Messi Net Worth Totals$375,602,000-$196,869,896$174,862,104

Retirement and Tax Fraud

Messi was convicted of tax fraud in Spain on 7/6/16. According to the BBC, Messi and his father dodged 4.16 million euros in taxes. They have since paid that amount, plus interest, plus a total of $3.87 million in fines. Messi claimed that he had no knowledge of the fraud and that his father was at fault. The courts argued that Messi was guilty anyway, since he should have paid attention to the management of his own money enough to make sure no wrongdoing was committed. Messi was sentenced to 21 months in prison but he will likely serve no actual jail time due to how Spain deals with non-violent criminals.

In other recent Messi net worth news, Messi announced his retirement from the Argentina national team in late June of 2016. The team doesn’t add to Messi’s wealth directly, but the added fame of playing in the league boosts Messi’s ability to land big endorsement deals. Going forward, Messi’s endorsement deal income is sure to take a dive. He faces the double whammy of no longer being a figure in the World Cup competition and being a tax fraud convict. Those are two stigmas that will make big companies think twice before signing deals with the embattled player.

If you liked reading about Lionel Messi’s net worth, try this post about Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth or this one about Tom Brady’s net worth. All Lionel Messi net worth data in this article are based on our analysis of income streams, tax, expense and investment calculations, estimates and media reports and are provided here for entertainment purposes only.


BBC on tax fraud and Lionel Messi net worth