Millions for Messi despite the salary cap – and how Beckham made it possible

Millions for Messi despite the salary cap - and how Beckham made it possible

Lionel Messi decided against a far more financially lucrative offer from Saudi Arabia when he made his commitment to Inter Miami in June. In Florida, the seven-time world soccer player triggered a wave of enthusiasm – and he already knows how to convince sporty as a regular match winner. But one thing is certain: the services of the world champion are not cheap.

While no official details on Messi’s salary have been released, it has leaked out that the 36-year-old earns the equivalent of $54 million a year in Florida, making him the MLS’s top earner by a wide margin. Ex-Bayern player Xherdan Shaqiri comes second with around eight million euros.

But how is that even possible in a league with a salary cap? According to the rules, each franchise can only spend $5.2 million on its professional team, which must consist of at least 18 players. Each player currently receives a minimum salary of $85,500 per year, with an upper limit of $1.65 million.

Allegedly, Messi earns on the “MLS Season Pass”.

However, there is also the so-called “Designated Player Rule”, a rule that allows any MLS club to avoid the salary cap with three players. It was introduced to more easily attract international stars to MLS. The first player to sign a contract under these conditions was David Beckham when he moved to Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 – which is why the rule was named “Beckham Rule”.

According to her, every MLS club is allowed to have three players in their squad who are outside the salary cap. Messi also falls under this rule in Miami, but it seems that the salary did not stop there. It is unanimously reported that Messi received club shares – the value of Inter Miami before the Argentine’s transfer was estimated at 600 million US dollars. This has not yet been confirmed, neither by the league nor by the club or co-owner Jorge Mas.

However, the billionaire again admitted that “Apple” played a major role. “The ‘Apple’ contract was very important,” confirmed the 60-year-old recently, without going into detail. Although there is no official information about this deal, it is said that Messi should receive part of the income from the “MLS Season Pass”, which can be booked via the paid streaming provider “Apple TV+”. How much? Unknown.

However, like the German sporting goods manufacturer and longtime Messi sponsor Adidas, Apple has a long-term contract with the MLS and therefore has a vested interest in making the league more attractive and thus more lucrative. One thing is clear: With Messi, the MLS has definitely become more attractive. It remains to be seen whether it will also become more lucrative.


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