Now that Lionel Messi’s contract has officially expired, Martin Braithwaite can stroll around Barcelona ’s training complex knowing that none of his team-mates can come close to matching his bank balance.
Of course, it is unlikely to be long before Argentinian star Messi renews his contract and when that happens, he will usurp Braithwaite in the Barca rich list — but only just.
Messi, 34, has been the highest earner at Camp Nou by some margin for several years and the mind-boggling numbers behind his contract were leaked in January this year.
The diminutive attacker signed a contract in 2018 worth around €1.3million-a-week (£1.1m), with a huge signing bonus worth around €115m (£102m), as well as a further loyalty bonus of €78m (£69m).
The Blaugrana superstar’s estimated worth of £309m, according to Goal, puts him in second position in the table of highest-paid sportsmen in the world.
Those figures dwarf the reported salary package Braithwaite receives, with the Danish forward earning around £85,000-a-week having signed for the club for £18m in February 2020.
It will therefore come as a surprise that Braithwaite, whose former clubs include Toulouse, Middlesbrough, Leganes and Bordeaux, is up there with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as football’s richest.
Having scored only eight goals in 53 appearances, the 30-year-old is certainly not on Messi’s level in terms of goal contributions.
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But it is his activities outside of the game that have helped him amass an extraordinary personal fortune to put him on a similar scale.
Braithwaite has made some shrewd investments during his career that have returned handsome amounts. In 2017, he reportedly invested $850,000 (£615,000) in a real estate business that has since boomed.
Through NYCE Companies, a fintech business, it grew to $10m (£7.8m) by the end of the year and now, four years later, it is worth an incredible $250m (£181m).
Braithwaite and his uncle, Michael, reportedly own 1,500 apartments and are preparing to develop another 500.
“It started with our family having been in the real estate business for a long time,” Michael said.
“Here you will find that one of the ways you can build a fortune and secure your future financially is by investing in real estate. And that’s what I’ve been doing with my dad and Martin since I came over here.
“Martin’s role is very much about how we do in terms of strategy and vision in the long run. He is involved, but not so involved that it distracts him from football.”
Additionally, the Dane owns a clothing business with his wife called Trente and it is claimed he runs a restaurant in Barcelona, where he currently resides.
But Braithwaite is not just merely a multi-millionaire who splashes the cash on luxuries. In fact, he is regarded as something of the people’s hero with his advocacy for social mobility in underprivileged communities.
The Dane has made it his mission to help people in black communities in the United States become more affluent, helping people how to manage their wealth.
“We want to teach people about financial freedom and the power that they possess,” he said speaking on a Yahoo Finance panel recently, via the Irish Times.
“We have so many things that we want to do and always with the mindset to give back.”
Elaborating further about his motivation to help Americans in need, he told The Philadeplhia Inquirier: ”I always had this American side, and I think maybe that’s why my mindset is maybe more American: dreaming big, doing amazing things, writing goals down.
“In Denmark, we have an amazing system protecting the people. Everyone is good. No one needs anything.
“In America, it’s not really the same thing.”
The club are facing a bleak summer after making huge losses during the coronavirus pandemic and have been told to cut their wage bill by €200m (£171m) to meet LaLiga’s financial regulations.
That could see fringe players such as Braithwaite leave with other high earners like Miralem Pjanic, Philippe Coutinho and Samuel Umtiti allowed to leave in order to cut costs.
The striker has caught the eye with Denmark at Euro 2020 as Kasper Hjulmand’s side reached the semi-finals before their extra-time defeat to England.
His displays would have shown visiting scouts that he still has something to offer, scoring a fine goal in the last-16 victory over Wales.
But if he wants to stick around in Catalonia, perhaps he will need to dip into his pockets to hand the club a short-term loan. After all, it’s not like he cannot afford it.