Lionel Messi salary, contract at Inter Miami: Argentina star earns more than 25 MLS rosters

Lionel Messi’s arrival at Inter Miami has carved out a new chapter in his iconic career and the 2022 World Cup winner is now bidding to become a champion in the USA for the first time.

Messi exploded to life to begin his Inter Miami career, helping the club win its first trophy in the 2023 Leagues Cup. Injuries and fatigue took a toll, however, and the 36-year-old missed key games as Inter Miami missed out on the postseason.

However, his brilliance on the pitch has been clear, and he helped Inter Miami to a strong start in 2024 — one that gives the team real belief that a run deep into the playoffs could be possible.

Of course, securing the services of a player of Messi’s standing rarely comes cheap. Indeed, according to figures released in May 2024 and detailed by The Athletic and New York Times, the former Barcelona star’s salary is greater than the guaranteed compensation totals of 25 different MLS teams.

With the annual release of the Major League Soccer compensation information, Messi’s base salary at Inter Miami is now known.

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Lionel Messi salary, contract at Inter Miami

Messi signed a two-and-a-half-year contract at Inter Miami in 2023, bringing him up to the end of the 2025 season, with a reported option to extend for another 12 months.

According to the 2024 MLS salary guide, Messi’s base salary is $12 million, with a total guaranteed compensation of just over $20.4 million. Those figures make him the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer by a massive margin.

The next-highest paid player is Lorenzo Insigne of Toronto FC, whose $7.5 million base salary and $15.4 million guaranteed compensation don’t come close to Messi’s total. Nobody else in the league outside of those two reach $9 million of guaranteed compensation: the next two on the list are Messi’s team-mate Sergio Busquets ($8.8 million) and Xherdan Shaqiri of Chicago Fire ($8.15 million).

Unsurprisingly, Inter Miami top the charts for team spending wages. The Florida franchise’s total guaranteed compensation pay stands at $30.9 million. Montreal is lowest at $10.8 million.

Messi reportedly also received an ownership stake in the club as part of his contract, with advertising and image rights talks ongoing with Apple, Adidas, and others. According to The Miami Herald back in June 2023, when factoring in all aspects of the deal beyond just purely his salary, the deal is worth $125-$150 million (£100m-£120m) in total, broken down at around $4.1-$5m (£3.3-£4m) per month.

Salary database Capology has tabbed his salary as being worth $54 million per year in total, for a three-year total of $162 million.

Lionel Messi on football’s top salary list

Based on the numbers surrounding Messi’s contract, he took a substantial drop from his PSG wages but still earns more than the majority of European stars.

In comparison to players heading to Saudi Arabia, Messi’s contract is significantly reduced, with his ranking set to drop further as more stars join Cristiano Ronaldo and company.

According to Forbes, Ronaldo is the highest-paid athlete of 2024 with earnings of $260 million. Messi is third on the list at $135 million.

Top earning footballers May2024
  Player Club Estimated Annual Salary Estimated Total Income
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Al Nassr $200m $260m
2. Lionel Messi Inter Miami $20.4m $135m
3. Kylian Mbappe PSG $90m $110m
4. Neymar Al Hilal $80m $108m
5. Karim Benzema Al Ittihad $100m $106m

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