"I was convinced I was going to stay here. It was what my family and I wanted. Today it's my turn to say goodbye to this." These are some of the words spoken by Leo Messi on August 8, 2021, in his farewell to Barcelona. Consummated the signing by the French PSG after not giving the necessary (economic) conditions to continue wearing the Barça shirt, the Argentine footballer left behind 21 years in Spain – he arrived with only 13 to La Masia -, where he established his family residence and the headquarters of his companies, whose accounts of the last four years he has been depositing in the Mercantile Registry over the last weeks. Among them, those of Leo Messi Management, S.L.U., the company that manages its image rights, and which in 2021 obtained a profit of 6.58 million euros.
The sporting upheaval that meant for Messi to leave the city and the team in which he grew up and developed as a footballer – he won 34 titles with Barça and received seven Ballon d'Or – also had some impact on the income statement of his companies. Leo Messi Management, S.L.U. based on Avenida Diagonal in Barcelona, and which together with three other companies make up the holding company directed by Limecu España 2010, S. L. managed by Rodrigo Martín Messi, brother of the player, saw his profits reduced compared to the 2020 financial year, when he received almost two million more (8.22) for this concept. Of the total amount of profits achieved by the company, on November 12, 2021, the company agreed to make a dividend distribution quantified at 5 million euros, according to the accounts published in the Mercantile Registry, to which EL PAÍS has had access. Three days later, the same operation was agreed, but this time with a dividend in the amount of 1.5 million. The resulting amount, worth 6.5 million, is the same that was distributed for the same concepts in the previous year of 2020.
In the accounts of the last financial year deposited – those of 2022 have not yet been presented – the turnover of this company was lower than that of the previous year (48.5 million compared to 53), despite the fact that, as specified in the document, the company maintains "the expectation of maintaining or increasing the turnover figure in the year 2022", and that "the company has diversified and increased the number of clients interested in the exploitation of image rights of which it is the holder". As for the net worth of Leo Messi Management, S.L.U., this stood at the end of the year at 5.77 million, figures not very different from those harvested in the previous year (5.64); while the amount managed by the Treasury fell by almost half: from 23.35 million to 12.86.
Leo Messi Management, S.L.U. was established in 2009 and belongs to a group of companies of which Limecu España 2010, S. L. —which had a turnover of 59.77 million euros in 2021, 1% less than the previous year— is the dominant company. Next to them are also Edificio Rostower, S.L.U. (dedicated to the real estate sector); Explotaciones Rosotel, S.L.U. (hospitality) and Los seis rosarinos XXI, S.L.U. (food services). All of them are based in Barcelona, are at the same address and are managed by Rodrigo Martín Messi, the eldest of the four brothers (Leo is the third).
Messi, introduced by Inter Miami in July of this year. Inter Miami CF Communications (EFE)
The management of Messi's companies has generated several conflicts with justice. In May 2017, the Supreme Court considered him the author of three tax crimes and he was sentenced to 21 months in prison (his father, Jorge Horacio, to 15) for defrauding 4.1 million euros to the Treasury during the years 2007, 2008 and 2009, by not having taxed in that time the money received for image rights (10.1 million). Subsequently, the Audiencia of Barcelona allowed the player to commute his sentence to a fine of 252,000 euros (his father had to pay another of 180,000); after it had entered the full amount due.
Four years later and only a few months before confirming his departure from Barcelona, the National Court filed a complaint against the player, his father, his brother Rodrigo and his foundation for alleged accounting crimes and fraud against the Public Treasury and money laundering. The judge in charge of the case considered that "the existence of any criminal action on the part of the accused" had not been manifested.
After two seasons in Paris — 75 games, 32 goals, 35 assists — Messi packed his bags and landed in the United States to play for Inter Miami, owned by billionaire brothers Jorge and Jose Más, and former English soccer player David Beckham. There, the company MGO Global – which is able to sell clothes with the Argentine brand for the next two years – began trading on the Nasdaq at the beginning of the year.
Follow all the information of Economy and Business on Facebook and X, or in our weekly newsletter
Subscribe to continue reading
Read without limits
I'm already a subscriber