Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi says the world will be “shocked” by the financial revenue generated by the club’s signing of global football superstar Lionel Messi.
Messi signed a two-year deal with PSG, with an option for a third, which will earn him an annual salary of $41 million plus bonuses and a reported signing fee of $30 million.
The signing is expected to generate a windfall in commercial revenue, including through sweater sales. When Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Italy’s Juventus in 2018, more than $60 million worth of shirts were sold in just 24 hours.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Messi’s unveiling as a PSG player on Wednesday, Al Khelaifi suggested the club could eventually release more precise numbers behind the deal, but added that people would be “frankly shocked by the numbers we have.” “.
“I just hope [Messi] won’t 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 honor its five-year deal.
The 34-year-old Argentine burst into tears as he said goodbye to Barcelona on Monday, telling the press conference on Wednesday that the past week had been an “emotional roller coaster”.
He won the FIFA Player of the Year award six times and the European Golden Boot for the continent’s top goalscorer each, leaving Barcelona after two decades with the Catalan club, contributing 672 goals in all competitions and winning 34 trophies .
Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at the University of Liverpool, told CNBC on Wednesday that while the deal may not have a huge commercial impact on the ailing French Ligue 1, it will further strengthen the already dominant PSG.
“They put 150,000 shirts for sale on their website at 10pm UK time last night and they sold out in under seven minutes, so there are certainly opportunities to commercialize and monetize the Messi name,” said Maguire.
Champions League dreams
Messi – considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time – will line up at PSG alongside his former Barcelona teammate, Brazilian superstar Neymar, and 22-year-old French phenom Kylian Mbappé, to face a formidable front three to form with the Parisian giants.
As well as aiming to recapture the French Ligue 1 title, PSG are aiming for an elusive first UEFA Champions League crown, having fallen to Manchester City’s semi-final last year. Owners Qatar Sports Investment have been spending extravagantly to build a star-studded roster in hopes of dominating European football.
“I’m really looking forward to being on the pitch, and my hopes of winning remain intact, which is why I’m 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.”