Ligue 1 English

Lionel Messi trumps Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for replica shirts sold last season

Lionel Messi has created a new record at Paris Saint-Germain despite having struggled in his first season at the Parc des Princes on the pitch, as his megastar reputation paved the way to push shirt sales through the roof never before witnessed.  The Parisian capital club reportedly movedover one million jerseys for the first time last season, with Messi’s No 30 shirt comprising over 60 per cent of the figure.

With this being an unprecedented first for any player in the sport, Messihas underlined his continued pull in the merchandizing department as his feat also means that his kit sales have surpassed those of longtime rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who returned to Manchester United for a second spell last summer.

Not faring at all badly though, Ronaldo’s replica tops had made United £187million by last September, although Messi rocketed up the charts to overtake him during his first stint in Paris, which also resulted in PSG surging into the lead over United as the club that sells the most shirts without batting an eyelid.

Suffice it to say that in the hours following confirmation that Messi would be joining PSG following his Barcelona departure, almost €1million (£857m) was generated in shirt sales alone, allowing the Ligue 1 heavyweights the golden opportunity to capitalize on this by moving their official store to the Champs-Elysees to double down on the rush, and double the surface area available to them.

Marc Armstrong, PSG’s chief partnerships officer, has told Marca:  “Demand has grown by 30 to 40 per cent and really what can slow it down is supply.

“When a signing of this size happens, [Cristiano] Ronaldo to [Manchester] United for example, you might think he’s going to get paid by selling shirts, but that’s not the case. You can’t produce a lot of extra shirts.

“The agreement is set to guarantee very important minimums but we can’t meet the demand for Messi shirts. We have reached the ceiling.

“Nobody can meet that demand. We are already selling a lot of jerseys, maybe more than any other team in the world for one player, and that puts us at the next level.

“We have a lot of demand for lifestyle products, the revenue with the Jordan brand is huge, but the demand grows even more when you sign a player like Messi.”

Armstrong further added that the club’s marketing and sponsorship agreements escalated by 13 per cent after Messi’s arrival, whuch expedited their signing off on countless deals. He also revealed that PSG’s social media followings were growing by 1.4million per week, with a notable upsurge in ticket sales and demand following suit.

Overall, PSG are believed to have generated a revenue of £600m after Messi was signed, with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi earlier this week telling Marca:

“If we make a signing, it is because we can. Look at the case of Messi.

“It was the same, they said it was financially impossible and we have made money with Messi.”