A look at the contract extensions of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are more or less evenly matched when it comes to their individual talents and accolades won. But there is a clear winner between the two when it comes to signing contract extensions with their respective sides.football Updated: Jul 07, 2017 12:12 IST
The careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have moved in similar trajectories since their early days. Both have won all they possibly can with their respective clubs, all whilst scoring a lot of goals in the process.
One area where they do differ is the number of contract extensions they have had in their careers. Lionel Messi recently agreed a new four year contract that will keep him at Camp Nou till 2021.
This new contract means the Argentine has put pen to paper on nine separate occasions, excluding his first contract with Barcelona on a napkin.
The early years
The first of these nine contracts came in February 2004, when the 17 year old signed his professional contract. This was a full nine months before he made his debut.
The second came in June 2005, making him a Barcelona player till 2010. To ward off any interest in him, his buyout clause was increased to €150 million.
A serious bid to prize Messi away from Camp Nou came from Inter Milan, who were willing to match his buyout clause and triple his salary, but he decided to stay. Just three months after signing his previous contract, he signed an improved contract and doubled his salary.
A star is made
The summer of 2008 saw Ronaldinho leave the club. Messi was now the undisputed star player of the team and he was duly rewarded with another deal, making him the highest paid player in the team with an annual wage of €7.8 million.
After winning everything that there was to win in Pep Guardiola’s first year in charge, Messi extended his deal in September 2009, taking his salary to €12 million a year. His buyout clause was now €250 million.
It was only after three and a half years in February 2013 that the then-26 year old signed a new deal committing his future to Barcelona till the summer of 2018.
Reports of discontent in media had circulated that Messi wasn’t happy with the club and how they were playing. All the fears that he may leave were laid to rest when he signed a new deal before the 2014 FIFA world Cup in Brazil.
Barcelona also took a risk when they allowed their gun player to let his contract down to its last 12 months but it has now all worked out with him committing to the club till 2021.
Unlike Messi, who has been at one club all throughout his career, Cristiano Ronaldo has changed clubs twice.
The next Beckham?
Having come through Sporting Lisbon’s academy, Ronaldo moved to Manchester United in 2003, signing a five year deal thus becoming the most expensive teenager in the game’s history back then.
After increasingly impressive performances for the Red Devils, the Portuguese was rewarded with a new contract running till 2010 in November 2005.
In 2007, Ronaldo helped Manchester United win their first league title in four years, in the process he went to win all the awards that there were to win. His efforts were once again rewarded with a new five year deal in May of that year, taking his wages to £6 million a year.
Over the next couple of years Manchester United won the league title twice and reached the Champions League final twice as well, winning one and losing one. The Madeira born forward was in imperious form at the time.
Then in 2009, Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid for a then record transfer fee of £80 million, meaning he would now be in the same league as his biggest rival.
However, a lack of success in the league and Europe led to a lot of rumours that Ronaldo wanted out. All the rumours were put to rest at the beginning of the 2013/14 season when he signed a new deal.
It would take his salary to €17 million a year and extend his contract till 2018. Real Madrid went to win Champions League at the end of the season.
The last of Ronaldo’s contract extensions came in November of last year on the back of Real winning the Champions League and Portugal winning the UEFA Euros.
He’s been in top form this season but with speculation mounting that he supposedly wants out, Madridastas are eagerly awaiting the news of him re-signing with the club.