Since he lifted the World Cup on December 18, Messi’s official Instagram account, which has 414 million followers, has promoted Budweiser beer, the Call of Duty and eFootball video games, energy drink Gatorade, crypto exchange Bitget and artificial eyewear firm Orcam.
It suggests Messi’s sponsors are clamouring for paid partnerships to capitalise on his World Cup glory with the star earning over £9m so far.
Brands are scrambling to capitalise on Lionel Messi’s World Cup success with Argentina with the star poised to earn millions in endorsements on social media
Messi promotes artificial eyewear company OrCam in a sponsored post on his Instagram account, which has 414 million followers around the world
The Argentina star appears in an advert for sports energy drink Gatorade in another post
Another branded post saw Messi plug the popular video game series Call of Duty
SPORT’S INSTAGRAM RICH LIST 2022
Amounts in £ earned per branded post
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – £2m
2. Lionel Messi – £1.5m
3. Virat Kohli – £902,000
4. Neymar – £784,000
5. LeBron James – £545,000
By contrast, Ronaldo hasn’t posted a single paid partnership to his 528million Instagram followers since Portugal crashed out of the World Cup to underdogs Morocco on December 10.
Ronaldo’s dismal World Cup could affect his status as the top-earning Instagram celebrity, with Messi poised to leapfrog him.
Ronaldo, 37, topped Hopper’s most recent Instagram Rich List, earning around $2.4m (£2m) per branded post. That had soared from around £1.16m per post in the 2021 ranking.
The Portugal forward, who has just signed a £175m-per-year contract at Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr after leaving Manchester United, promotes brands including Nike, Clear shampoo, Louis Vuitton, Bitcoin exchange Binance and app Livescore.
Messi was third on Hopper’s list, commanding $1.77m (£1.5m) per branded Instagram post but his World Cup success, which confirmed him as the greatest-ever footballer in the eyes of many, could see the gap to Ronaldo narrow.
The two footballers are split by American celebrity Kylie Jenner, who has 377m followers and rakes in around $1.8m (£1.52m) a post.
Messi’s rival Cristiano Ronaldo, by contrast, hasn’t posted any sponsor tie-ups since Portugal crashed out of the World Cup to underdogs Morocco
Messi sponsor Budweiser beer capitalised on the Argentine’s World Cup accomplishment
Another post saw Messi promote the video game EFootball 2023 wearing Argentina colours
Messi and Ronaldo’s Instagram income dwarfs that of the next highest-ranked sportsperson, the Indian cricketer Virat Kohli, whose cost per sponsored post comes in at $1.08m (£902,000).
Messi, 35, made social media history when an Instagram picture of him lifting the World Cup trophy became the most liked post ever.
It has amassed more than 75 million likes since it was posted on December 18, surpassing a picture of an egg posted by British advertising executive Chris Godfrey in 2019.
Lionel Messi’s picture of him lifting the World Cup trophy has become the most-liked Instagram image of all-time – overtaking an image of an egg
A later post of Messi in bed with the World Cup trophy after the team returned to Argentina gained over 50m likes.
Paris Saint-Germain star Messi also has endorsements from Adidas, PepsiCo, socios.com, Sorare, Byju’s and Louis Vuitton.
Indeed, Messi and Ronaldo posed together playing chess for the luxury fashion label ahead of the Qatar World Cup.
A post showing Messi curled up in bed with the World Cup trophy attracted over 50m likes
Messi and Ronaldo posed together playing chess in an advert for fashion brand Louis Vuitton
Ronaldo’s lucrative move to Al Nassr has made him the highest earner in world sport, seeing him surpass Messi and basketball star LeBron James.
Messi earns £103.4m per year but this will be dwarfed by Ronaldo’s new salary, not to mention his off-field sponsorships.
Argentina beat France on penalties in a thrilling final to win the World Cup for the third time. Messi scored seven goals during the tournament, including two in the final, and was second only to France’s Kylian Mbappe in the scorers’ charts.
His performances earned him the Golden Ball award for the best player of the World Cup.