Argentine soccer superstar Lionel Messi, regarded as one of the game’s greatest players of all time, has reportedly made crypto fan tokens a part of the payment deal in his financial package with French club Paris Saint-Germain. The information comes from sources close to the matter, according to Reuters.
Messi, 34, who had been at FC Barcelona since he was 13, this week signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), with an option to extend for a third year. His departure from Barcelona, with which he won four Champions League titles, was sealed after Spanish La Liga’s financial fair play rules made it fiscally unviable for the club to continue to afford the star player.
Messi has won the European Golden Shoe award for top scorer and FIFA’s player of the year award six times each and will reportedly net an annual salary of $41 million (plus bonuses) in addition to a $30-million signing bonus at PSG, reports claim. PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said at a press conference this week that should the precise figures for the deal be made public, people would be “shocked, honestly, at the numbers we have.”
With the exact details still shrouded in secrecy, the allocation and terms of the inclusion of crypto fan tokens in Messi’s contract are unknown. Cointelegraph has reached out to PSG for comment and will update this article with further information should it be forthcoming. Blockchain firm Chiliz, which operates the sports token platform Socios on which $PSG fan tokens are issued, has today revealed that $PSG trading volumes surged to over $1.2 billion in the days preceding the player's move.
Fan tokens continue to be popular in global sports, with major Turkish multi-sport club Fenerbahçe S.K. completing an initial presale of 500,000 tokens on Ethereum this week, netting the club $1.75 million in 30 seconds.
PSG has itself been involved in crypto since 2018 through its partnership with the Socios blockchain platform, which also counts Messi’s former club FC Barcelona as a partner alongside a host of other international, high-profile clubs that include Atlético de Madrid, Juventus, Manchester City and many others.
Flash sales for fan tokens are undeniably lucrative for the clubs involved and became even more prevalent during the pandemic-induced lockdowns last year as a way to enhance clubs’ digital presence, boost revenue and maintain fan engagement. Yet critics of the model have argued that the voting rights associated with token ownership offer fans little more than a cosmetic say in clubs’ operations and represent a gratuitous monetization of fan engagement.