Lionel Messi To Be Paid by PSG Partly in Cryptocurrency Tokens
By Matthew Sullivan
Lionel Messi’s shock move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain has been made even more historic, with his new club revealing the star recruit will be paid partly in cryptocurrency tokens.
Earlier this week, the football superstar signed a two-year deal with French giants PSG with an option for an extension into a third year.
The 34-year-old paid a tearful goodbye to Barcelona after he offered to halve his pay but LaLiga insisted the Spanish giants must further cut their wage bill before they could re-sign him.
On top of a signing bonus of AUD$40 million, Messi will be paid AUD$111 million, or a salary of AUD$55 million each season.
And in a sign of just how far the world of sport has come, PSG announced on Thursday (AEST) Messi’s financial “welcome package” would also include cryptocurrency tokens.
In a statement posted to the club’s website, PSG said Messi had received a large number of “$PSG Fan Tokens” through its partnership with crypto platform Socios.com.
PSG described the arrangement as “a world first for such a high-profile signing”.
Fan tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that allows holders to vote on mostly minor decisions related to their clubs.
For example, in recent years owners of PSG tokens have been given the chance to choose a motivational message on the wall of the change room before a game, the goal of the season, or winners of the club’s end of season awards.
They have also been given the chance to receive personalised video calls from star members of the team.
PSG made its first foray into blockchain in 2018, while other clubs such as English Premier League champions Manchester City and Italian giants AC Milan have also launched similar tokens this year.
Similar to bitcoin and other digital currencies, fan tokens can be traded on exchanges and can also be vulnerable to wild price swings.
While PSG didn’t specify what percentage of Messi’s signing bonus was comprised by the tokens, they will be encouraged by the high volume of trading of its fan tokens shortly after his move to the club was announced.
“Fully embracing Socios.com and $PSG Fan Tokens has proved a massive success for the club,” PSG chief partnerships officer Marc Armstrong said.
“We have been able to engage with a new global audience, creating a significant digital revenue stream.”
Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Socios.com added: “Paris Saint-Germain are reaping the rewards of their bold approach and I believe this could be the start of a new trend as Fan Tokens and Socios.com play an increasingly prominent role across sport at the very highest level.”
Messi’s move to PSG has sparked crazy scenes in Paris, with fans crowding around the Parc de Princes to welcome the superstar after he received a police motorcade from the airport.
There have also been long queues outside PSG stores as Messi merchandise flies off the shelves.
At the official press conference for his unveiling, Messi said he was focused on winning trophies at PSG, particularly the European Champions League, which the French club has never won.
“They’ve been so close to a victory in the Champions League but couldn’t make it,” he said.
“But they were close. In this competition the best teams are playing and it’s difficult to win it.
“My goal and my dream is to win this trophy again and I think that Paris is the best place to have a chance to win it again.”
Messi could play his first game for PSG as soon 5am on Sunday morning (AEST) against Strasbourg in the first round of the Ligue 1 season.