For the last decade, at least, football fans have been divided as to the current greatest footballer in the world. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the headlines, and the Ballon D’or was won by one of these two every year between 2008 and 2017. This highlights the dominance that these two players have had on world football. These two players have won pretty much everything available to them at club level with Cristiano Ronaldo the only player out of the two to be successful at international level. Even members of the public who are not interested in football will be able to point out Ronaldo and Messi in lineups, and speak of just how much money both of these players earn. Following a contract extension for Messi, he is now earning almost double that of his closest rival. Here, we break down the numbers between the two:
Lionel Messi was brought to Barcelona at the age of 14 after his hometown club in Argentina refused to help fund the growth hormone treatment that Messi required. Having family in Barcelona helped to arrange a trail for the youngster, although the Catalonia club were initially hesitant to sign someone so young as this was not the norm back then. The belief shown in the Argentine by First team director Charly Rexach was almost immediately repaid as soon as the hormone treatment was completed as Messi formed a huge part of the so called “Baby Dream Team” youth side for Barcelona alongside other players such as Cesc Fabregas and Gerard Pique.
Since making his way to the Barcelona first team at age 16, he has gone on to score 595 goals in 678 games in all competitions, scoring over 20 goals a season every season since 2008-2009. In his 20 years with the club, he has signed 3 contract extensions, improving his wage at every step. According to research by Betting Sites UK, his latest extension netted him a wage of nearly $10 million a month before tax, and not including his external sponsorships. This makes the Argentine the highest paid footballer ever, and he has the stats and trophies to back up the claims of being one of the greatest footballers ever. The fact that he cost the club nothing in terms of transfer fees, could show that he was a bargain to the club, but also goes some way as to why the club is willing to pay him so much.
Unlike Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo has played in multiple countries, and has continued his success in each country. Having won trophies in Portugal, England and Spain, Ronaldo is now plying his trade in Italy and is set to win the league with Juventus at the first time of asking. During the time that both players were in Spain, it became a personal battle as to who would win the trophies, rather than the clubs themselves. During this period Ronaldo scored a total of 450 goals in 438 games for Real Madrid and won 15 trophies for the Spanish club. During this same time, Messi scored a total of 472 goals in 476 games and won 32 trophies. Ronaldo has cost a total of over $200 million in transfer fees through his career, which could go some way to explain why he is not as well paid as his biggest rival. After paying these high fees, clubs will be pressured to adhere to Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules by reducing his salary accordingly, with the Portuguese star earning a reported $5 million a month at Juventus.
Infographic source: https://www.betting-sites.uk.com/soccer-earnings/