In the same week Lionel Messi was named the most expensive athlete in the world at $260 million, rumors swirled that he could leave Barcelona in a historically expensive transfer.
Despite his insane wealth and popularity, he's is one of the most private people in the sport.
He drives a $200,000 car and lives in a nice house, but the rest is a mystery.He made $41.3 million last year, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo among active players.
After signing a new contract, he's now the highest-paid player in the world at $27 million per year.
He makes just as much off the field, earning $21.5 million in endorsements.
Adidas is his biggest sponsor, paying him a reported $4 million per year.
He also has deals with Gillette, Samsung, Gatorade, and a slew of other companies.
Messi is so valuable to Barcelona that if he ever leaves, the club that buys him will have to pay a $340 million buy out.
Messi is one of the most private athletes in the world. There are only a few signs that he lives likes a guy who makes $50 million per year.
He has been spotted in a $240,000 Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale.
He and a few extended family members live in a massive compound outside Barcelona. There's a top-notch Argentine asado set-up.
He still owns and maintains his childhood home in Argentina, even though no one lives there anymore.
He's known to take the occasional private plane, like when he went to the Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich.
But other than that Messi is fiercely private. We know that he has a long-time girlfriend, Antonella Roccuzzo.
The two grew up in the same town in Argentina, and their families are friends.
They have a baby named Thiago.
Messi has his name on his boots.
Thiago is now a staple of Barcelona title celebrations.
We get the occasional glimpse into his lavish side, like when he wore a polka-dot suit to an awards ceremony.
Or when he got a private meeting with the pope, himself a huge soccer fan.
Or when he agreed to have a gold cast of his foot made and sold to support Japanese tsunami relief (it went for $5 million).
But unlike other modern athletes, he's not actively concerned with using his personal life to grow his brand. His Instagram is totally bland.
This is probably the wildest picture.
In a weird way, the mystery of Messi probably helps him.
Since we know virtually nothing of Messi off the field, we focus solely on his brilliance on the field.
Unlike Ronaldo, his closest rival, Messi is only judged as a soccer player, not a person.
Now see how the other half lives.
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