Lionel Messi is considered to be the best soccer player on the planet and Spanish La Liga powerhouse Barcelona wasn’t about to let him go somewhere else. The good news for them is that Messi wants to end his career with the team as well. For that reason it wasn’t a huge surprise that the two have agreed on a two year deal that will keep Messi at Camp Nou through June 30, 2018. Both sides were mum on the money involved, but reports suggest that Messi is getting a raise to a tidy $13.75 million (US) per year.
They may sound like a lot of money but keep in mind that he *is* the best soccer player in the world. That salary would put him somewhere between the #25 and #30 highest paid player in the NBA–for example, Chicago Bulls’ forward Carlos Boozer makes more than Lionel Messi. Messi would barely crack the top 50 Major League Baseball salaries though he would be among the top NFL players. The important thing to keep in mind–once again–is that we’re talking about a guy who is (almost) unanimously recognized as the best player on the planet. Obviously there’s other market considerations than pure talent (which is why Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson is the 4th highest paid player in the NBA, making more than LeBron James) but Messi’s compensation sure seems low for a player of his skill level.
And how good is Messi? Since his debut with the top flight team at age 16 he’s become Barcelona’s career goal scoring leader while winning four Balloon D’Or (FIFA Player of the Year) awards. And his accomplishments aren’t just personal performance awards– since joining the team Barcelona has won a whopping 19 trophies in the Spanish La Liga(five), Champions League (three), Copa del Rey (two), FIFA Club World Cup (two), Spanish Super Cup (five) and European Super Cup (two).
Messi released this statement about the deal:
“I’m very happy at Barcelona, I have always said so. It’s a great day. I don’t know how I will be when I reach 31. I just go forward day by day and try to enjoy playing football here.”
As far as European club play goes Messi has said that he wants to end his career at Camp Nou, though he wants to make his last stop in his native Argentina:
“I have said before that as far as Europe goes I would like to end my career at Barcelona. I don’t think about playing for any other team on the continent. That said, I don’t rule out ending my playing career in Argentina.”
Notable in Messi’s signing is that his current deal doesn’t expire until 2016, meaning he could have greatly enhanced his market value by at least ‘flirting’ with the ‘free agent market’. Messi and Barcelona can now concentrate on the Champions League tournament–they’re +200 favorites to win.