Argentina-based esports organization KRÜ Esports announced Wednesday that legendary football player Lionel Messi is now a co-owner. The announcement was made by former footballer and current CEO of KRÜ Esports, Sergio Kun Agüero.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed and it is unclear if this new deal is similar to the one that international football star David Beckham signed with UK-based esports organization Guild Esports, where he was compensated in the seven- to eight-figure range for having his name attached to the publicly-traded company.
Agüero said in a release Wednesday that bringing Messi into the organization will add his “experience in the world of traditional professional sports to the universe of electronic sports and new digital media.” In addition, he hopes this will give the organization some international attention and serve as a way to further connect “with sports culture around the world and provide players and fans with the best of gaming.”
“I am happy to share a club with Leo, of course now in a new stage and with other challenges. It is an honor that he is part of KRÜ. He is the best footballer in history, and also a great friend. His presence is relevant because he projects values such as perseverance, humility and resilience. He is a figure that inspires everyone and will be a great contribution to the scene in general,” said Aguero in a release.
In case you’re not familiar with Messi, he is an Argentinian professional football player who currently plays as a forward for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Inter Miami and is a key member of the Argentina national team. Prior to making the trip to the United States, Messi played for Paris Saint-Germain and FC Barcelona.
Messi is one of the most recognized players in the world, and one of the most well-paid; while at FC Barcelona, he was making an estimated $165M USD annually in salary and incentives, according to leaked contract documents. Further, he has the power to bring in brands and sign lucrative deals; for example, in March of 2022 he signed a $20M deal with fan engagement platform Socios. He also has a long-term partnership with adidas. Messi has also been honored with the Ballon d’Or, an annual international award presented by French news publication France Football that recognizes the world’s best football players, eight times.
In addition to its all-women Valorant team, Visa KRÜ Blaze, the organization fields professional teams in Valorant and Rocket League. Alongside Visa, KRÜ also has partnerships with Disney+, PUMA, AORUS, Fitchin, Logitech G, and Budweiser.