Paris Saint-Germain President Nasser Al-Khelaifi says the world will be “shocked” by the financial revenues generated by the club’s signing of global soccer superstar Lionel Messi.
Messi signed a two-year deal with PSG, with an option for a third, that will net him an annual salary of $41 million plus bonuses and a reported $30 million signing fee.
Lionel Messi leaves Barcelona for PSG
The signing is expected to bring a windfall of commercial revenues, through such avenues as jersey sales. When Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Italian giants Juventus in 2018, more than $60 million worth of his shirts were sold in just 24 hours.
Speaking at a press conference for Messi’s unveiling as a PSG player on Wednesday, Al Khelaifi suggested the club may eventually release more precise figures behind the deal but added that people would be “shocked, honestly, at the numbers we have.”
“I just hope [Messi] will not ask for more salary,” he joked.
Messi left FC Barcelona last week after financial rules imposed by Spain’s La Liga made it fiscally impossible for the troubled club to follow through on his five-year contract agreement.
The 34-year-old Argentine broke down in tears when bidding farewell to Barcelona on Monday, and told Wednesday’s press conference that the past week had been an “emotional roller coaster.”
He has won FIFA’s player of the year award and the European Golden Shoe for the continent’s top scorer a record six times each, and departed Barcelona after two decades with the Catalan club, in which he contributed 672 goals in all competitions and won 34 trophies.
Soccer finance expert explains implications of landmark Messi move to PSG
Kieran Maguire, lecturer in football finance at the University of Liverpool, told CNBC on Wednesday that while the deal may not have a huge commercial impact on France’s ailing Ligue 1, it will further bolster the already dominant PSG.
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“They put 150,000 shirts on sale on their website last night at 10 p.m. U.K. time and they had sold out within seven minutes, so there are certainly opportunities from commercializing and monetizing the Messi name, and that will have allowed the club to have funded his salary,” Maguire said.
Champions League dreams
Messi — considered by many to be the greatest soccer player of all time — will line up at PSG alongside his former Barcelona teammate, Brazilian superstar Neymar, and 22-year-old French phenom Kylian Mbappe, to form a formidable front three at the Parisian giants.
Along with looking to regain the French Ligue 1 title, PSG is seeking an elusive first UEFA Champions League crown, having fallen to Manchester City in the semifinal last year. Owners Qatar Sports Investment have spent extravagantly to build a star-studded squad in the hopes of dominating European football.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out there in the field, and my hopes of winning remain intact, and that is the reason why I am here,” Messi told the press conference.
“I want to win another Champions League and I think I’m in the right place to do that.”