Celebrity Net Worth: Lionel Messi seals $20m crypto deal

In our fortnightly celebrity investment and wealth round-up, The Weeknd builds on his property portfolio and Gwyneth Paltrow invests in personalised menopause therapies

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Lionel Messi

Argentine football star Lionel Messi has joined digital fan token creator Socios.com as its global brand ambassador. The Paris St-Germain and Argentine forward will promote the digital experience community to his 400 million followers over the next three years under the $20 million deal.

Messi, whose move from Barcelona in August included a cryptocurrency payment, will be involved in a publicity and promotion campaign for Socios in the build-up to the Qatar World Cup, which starts in November, Reuters reported. He becomes the latest athlete to enter the cryptocurrency world after NFL quarterback Tom Brady and NBA star LeBron James.

The deal does not include cryptocurrency payments to Messi.

“Since I played my first professional game, the passion of the fans has been a driving force that has helped inspire me to be my very best. Fans deserve to be recognised for their support. They deserve opportunities to influence the teams they love,” Messi said.

“Socios.com exists to enhance the fan experience, to enable fans to ‘be more’. I’m proud to join Socios.com’s mission to create a more connected and rewarding future for fans around the world.”

With an estimated 1.2 million users, Socios sells virtual tokens that allow sports fans to vote on club matters such as what to name a training ground. There are tokens for more than 130 sports and Socios has signed deals with a range of clubs, including Arsenal, Barcelona, Juventus and Manchester City.

Quote
Since I played my first professional game, the passion of the fans has been a driving force that has helped inspire me to be my very best
Lionel Messi, footballer

Messi’s net worth has been estimated at $600m after career earnings in excess of $1 billion. He is thought to have earned a combined total salary of about $875m over his 21 years at FC Barcelona. A contract leak last year showed that Messi was able to earn up to $165m a year in salary, image rights and incentives.

Forbes magazine estimates that he earned $130m in 2021, second only to mixed-martial-arts star Conor McGregor.

Although football provides the major portion of Messi's income, endorsing companies such as Pepsi, Turkish Airlines and Adidas adds to his earnings. He has his own clothing line and opened his first retail outlet, the Messi Store, in 2019 in Barcelona.

Messi is also thought to own a sizeable real estate portfolio, with a home in Barcelona’s upmarket Castelldefels suburb, at least two homes in Rosario, Argentina, six properties in Italy, and a hotel worth €30m ($32.6m) in the Spanish tourist town of Sitges.

Musician The Weeknd has been adding to his property portfolio. AP

The Weeknd

Musicians everywhere are trading in virtual property assets such as NFTs, but one R&B star has been busy building a real-life real estate portfolio. The Weeknd, 32, now has a net worth of $600m, in part due to his property purchases, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The paper cited a source with knowledge of the musician’s finances.

Online, the Journal’s $600m figure is disputed, with alternative estimates of The Weeknd’s net worth ranging between $200m and $300m.

But the musician, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye — has a diverse range of income streams, including music production, investments and property.

Last week, he took part in a $5m seed-funding round in personalised song creation start-up Songfinch, alongside fellow musicians Quincy Jones and Amala “Doja Cat” Dlamini. The round was led by Chicago-based venture fund Corazon Capital.

The Weeknd’s investment comes after an earlier disbursement in Songfinch last July, when he took part in a $2m funding round.

In total, he has also invested in at least seven companies, according to investor intelligence platform Crunchbase.

Last year, he joined Salesforce founder, chairman and chief executive Marc Benioff in a $225m series D funding round in Forward Health. The San Francisco-based start-up offers preventive care using advanced medical technology such as biometric body scans and genetic and blood tests. The funding round resulted in the company being valued at $1bn, according to Reuters.

“I invested in Forward Health because I walked into the Los Angeles location and couldn’t believe what I saw: a state-of-the-art facility that looked like the exact opposite of what you would expect to see in a typical doctor’s office — with no waiting room and everyone being seen straight away,” The Weeknd said.

His other investments include gaming company Backbone, social media marketplace Pearpop and remittance start-up Pomelo.

The Weeknd's principal source of income is his music. Having begun his career releasing tracks anonymously on YouTube, he has released five studio albums since 2013 and played six tours. He has since accumulated US sales of 13.5 million album units and 98 million digital single units, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

In 2017, Forbes estimated his annual earnings at $92m. He scaled back his concert schedule in 2018, with only six shows in Asia and festivals such as Lollapalooza.

The Weeknd returns to the road with his first global stadium tour this year, beginning with a 19-stop tour across Canada and the US in the summer, with additional dates for Latin America, Asia, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Middle East to be announced soon.

Outside of music sales and tours, he is a music producer and co-founder of the XO record label.

The Weeknd has endorsed a wide range of brands, including Apple Music, H&M and Puma. He has previously collaborated with Marvel and has his own fashion label, also called XO.

In August, he bought a home worth about $70m in the Los Angeles district of Bel Air. In January, the Blinding Lights singer listed his penthouse at the ultra-luxury Beverly West condominium in Los Angeles for $22.5m. He purchased the four-bedroom, 8,000 square foot home in 2019 for $21m.

The same year, he also bought a mansion worth about $11m for his mother and signed the deposit cheque as “The Weeknd”.

In 2017, the Canadian star paid $18.2m for a 1,170-square-metre (12,600 square foot) property in the gated community of Hidden Hills, California. He put it on the market in 2020, finally selling the seven-bedroom home to pop star Madonna for $19.3m last April.

Brooklyn Beckham and Nicola Peltz reportedly signed a prenuptial agreement before their wedding at the weekend. Getty

Nicola Peltz

Actor Nicola Peltz is reported to have signed a prenuptial agreement with chef and former footballer Brooklyn Beckham before their wedding on Saturday at her father’s home in Palm Beach, Florida.

The agreement protects the assets and finances of each partner in the event of a divorce. While Beckham is thought to have a net worth of $10m, his new wife is estimated to have five times that amount in net assets. Pletz's wealth comes principally from her modelling and acting career, including an appearance in Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Last Airbender.

She is also the daughter of billionaire activist investor Nelson Peltz, founder of investment company Trian Fund Management. The fund has $8.5bn in assets under management, according to Forbes.

Her brother, Will Peltz, is also an actor. By contrast, Beckham’s parents, British celebrity couple David and Victoria, are estimated to have a combined net worth of £380m ($498m).

The couple is understood to have few joint assets. In March, they sold their five-bedroom home in Beverly Hills for $11m, according to Hello magazine. They are reportedly scouting for a new home in Miami, where Beckham's parents own a $24m penthouse.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has invested in Evernow, a telehealth company that provides personalised treatments for menopausal and perimenopausal women. AP

Gwyneth Paltrow

Actor Gwyneth Paltrow has made a name for herself as a retailer of controversial feminine hygiene products through her Goop website. Now, she has linked up with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Carla Harris and others to invest in Evernow, a telehealth company that provides personalised prescription treatments and clinicians for menopausal and perimenopausal women.

The $28.5m series A funding round will be used to expand the team, enrol new members and strengthen product development.

Paltrow, 49, has invested in a dozen different companies, including The Expert, an online interior design consultation platform, and health beverage brand Olipop. In December, she participated in a $200m debt and equity financing round for TeraWulf, a crypto mining company that aims to produce Bitcoin using 100 per cent zero-carbon energy.

She is estimated to have a net worth of $150m, according to wealth tracking website Celebrity Net Worth.

Updated: April 11, 2022, 5:00 AM
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