Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi blew up the transfer market this summer. Transitions of players of this magnitude don’t happen very often (the Argentinian has played for «Barcelona» throughout his entire career), but both main stars of the last 15 years have switched teams in one transfer window.
Now the story has been supplemented with an interesting nuance. Forbes reported that Ronaldo, after moving from «Juventus» to «Manchester United», topped the rating of the highest-paid football players in the world. His total income this season should be €106.6m, while Messi, who moved to «PSG», will receive a total of €93.8m. These amounts include money from sponsors, bonuses, and other sources. But let’s focus on the forwards’ salaries and remember how much they earned in the past.
Ronaldo began his career at «Sporting», which raised him. Cristiano’s first contract in the Lisbon club was modest: the future owner of five «Ballon d’Ors» earned only €350,000 a year. Things picked up in the summer of 2003, after the transfer to «Manchester United». Under the terms of the first deal, he received a six-fold increase – to €2.09m.
By 2007, Ronaldo became one of the main stars not only of the English Premier League but also of the whole world football. «MU» understood that Cristiano deserved more, so they rushed to extend the contract with him for five years. Under the terms of the new agreement, the Portuguese’s salary increased to €7.2m per year.
At the end of 2008, Ronaldo got his first «Ballon d’Or», and in the following summer, he fulfilled his dream by moving to Real Madrid. He signed a six-year contract with unusual terms there. In the first season, Cristiano was supposed to earn €11m, and in the future, his salary would increase by 25 percent annually. Thus, in the 2010/2011 season, the Portuguese was paid €13.75m, in the next – €17m, and then – almost €21.5m. At this, the attraction of generosity stopped, and in September 2013, Ronaldo signed a new contract for five years with a salary of almost €17.5m (the bonuses were obviously good).
Ronaldo had to wait three years for the next contract with «Real». In November 2016, the parties finally signed a new contract. It was designed for three seasons and provided for a salary of €22m. The Portuguese did not work out his last agreement in Madrid until the end. In the summer of 2018, he moved to «Juventus» and signed a contract for four seasons. In Italy, the forward immediately began to receive €32.5m per year. Unlike previous clubs, Cristiano had one contract here and left a year before its expiration.
Ronaldo returned to «MU» this summer. Despite his age (36 years old), he became the highest-paid player on the team and in the entire English Premier League. At «Juventus», Cristiano earned more, but €29m is still a lot. For instance, his teammates Paul Pogba, David de Gea, and Edinson Cavani earn less.
Now about Messi. The situation with him is more complicated since no information about his first earnings at «Barcelona» could be found. But the overall picture is clear, and most importantly, in this case, the numbers reach truly insane proportions.
So, Messi signed his first professional contract in February 2004. By the summer of 2005, «Barcelona» realized that they had a diamond in their hands. The agreement with Leo was quickly extended until 2010, but another point is interesting: a compensation of €150m was added to the agreement, although the Argentine was only 18 years old.
Then something quite amazing started. Just three months later, in September 2005, «Barcelona» signed a new contract with Messi until the summer of 2014 (!). The mass media then wrote that Leo’s salary had doubled. The conclusion of the next agreement took place in March 2007, and here the figures are already known. The Argentinian began to earn €5.2m per season, but the term remained the same – it seems there was nowhere to extend.
In July 2008, Messi signed another contract. It is assumed that even then, he became the highest-paid player at «Barca», but it’s not confirmed. Traditions cannot be broke, so a year later Leo renewed the agreement with the Catalans. The new contract, signed in September 2009, was designed for seven years (until the summer of 2016). The compensation amount was increased to €250m.
After that, there was a long break. Messi signed his next contract with «Barcelona» in 2013. The contract was designed for five years. In May 2014, Leo’s future at «Barсa» was in doubt due to the team’s results (not a single trophy per season), but the problem was quickly resolved by giving the player an improved contract. The deadline remained the same – until the summer of 2018.
In 2015, Messi fell out with Luis Enrique, «Barcelona»’s head coach, but they made peace and the team won the treble. The calm didn’t last long. A year later, the club worried that Leo would leave because of tax problems. As you know, the Argentinian stayed.
Messi signed his last contract with «Barcelona» in 2017. The contract was designed for four years. The key point was the terms. As the mass media managed to find out only this year, they turned out to be beyond good and evil. «The contract that ruined «Barcelona» – everything is clear from the title. According to this information, Leo got €138m per season, and the total amount under the agreement was €555m. But that’s not all. For signing the contract, the Catalans paid Messi €115m, and the forward received another €77m as a loyalty bonus. No wonder that the six-time «Ballon d’Or» winner was the highest-paid footballer for many years and kept Ronaldo behind.
L’Equipe recently claimed that under a contract with «PSG», Messi would earn about €30m per season + €15m per year as a loyalty bonus. Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo said that «these numbers are really very far from the truth», but refused to reveal the terms of the agreement with the 34-year-old Argentinian. Whom should we believe?