Valued at $260 million Lionel Messi is the world’s most expensive athlete

With Lionel Messi finding a place on the bench in the last Barcelona match and his absence from the team training next day, speculations are rife that he is all set to leave the team and join Chelsea. European football’s midseason transfer window is open for the next month, and in all probability, we will witness a record-breaking transfer this season. Christiano Ronaldo, who is being considered as the front-runner for the 2014 Ballon d’Or, may be football’s top earner with $73 million in total income, according to Forbes, but Messi eclipses his rival in transfer value.

According to a new study by the CIES Football Observatory, backed by France’s Université of Franche-Comté and supported by FIFA, the most expensive soccer player in the world is Lionel Messi, and he is worth a whopping €220 million ($261 million). That’s 87 million more euros than Ronaldo’s worth. Moreover, that would just be the estimated cost of acquiring the rights to the star footballer. If a team were able to convince Barcelona to sell Messi, the new club would then have to negotiate a new contract with the player. Messi’s transfer value is calculated by examining transfer fees since 2009 and variables such as recent performance, age, position, current contract, and team performance. The most expensive actual transfer in the history of soccer remains Gareth Bale’s move from Tottenham to Real Madrid for €100 million in late 2013. In the coming days we will get to know if the record is broken.

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[Via – Chicago-Tribune]