Paris, Sept. 16 (US): For Paris photographer Olivier Sanchez, there’s only one story in town: Lionel Messi’s new life.
Newspapers and magazines around the world are discussing his agency Crystal Pictures about photos of the Argentine footballer, his wife and children settling in the French capital a month after their arrival.
“Today for me, it’s Messi and nobody else,” he said. “Everyone wants a piece of it. It’s king. Simple.”
When childhood club Barcelona announced Messi that he could not keep the six-time Ballon d’Or winner, French club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) pounced, Reuters reported.
PSG have agreed a staggering net salary of 71 million euros ($84 million) over two years, according to media, but club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said frankly that people will be “shocked” by the revenue he will generate.
The money train extends far beyond the club.
From luxury real estate agents to Argentine restaurateurs, photographers to private concierges, Messi represents a financial opportunity.
Sanchez said he had at least two photographers collecting tips and following Messi and PSG for the first shots of the family when they finally broke the hotel cover.
In Barcelona, he impresses locals with his down-to-earth lifestyle, waving to neighbors, enjoying beachside meals and taking his kids to bouncy castles.
“If we could carry them in a park, or take a walk in town, or go out at Disneyland Paris, the newspapers would pass it by,” Sanchez said.
Meanwhile, luxury real estate agent Susie Hollands is touring the market in search of a property worthy of a man listed by Forbes as the world’s second highest-paid athlete in 2021. Hollands, founder of boutique property group Vingt Paris, has teamed up with PSG before He is aware of the demands of the players.
“Usually, they want 1,000 square meters – that’s hardly in the center of Paris – and parking for their cars,” Hollands said.
Top-notch security and privacy are also important.
She said a Paris Saint-Germain player, who worked for the Netherlands in housing, was paying 35,000 euros ($30,000) a month, adding that this lease would earn her between 50,000-60,000 euros in fees.
“We’re taking a look to see if we can find something. But you either have it or you don’t,” Hollands said, adding that she was one of a select group of clients the club has worked with.
For several years after the Emir of Qatar bought PSG in 2011, concierge company Yves Abitbol helped settle some of its top players, organize a home hunt, handle bank paper and insurance, and find home staff.
On occasion, he would cater to fanciers, including visits to sports car dealerships and luxury watch stores.
Abiteboul said his company, MyConcierge, worked closely with PSG until it set up its own in-house team several years ago, ruling out the likes of him.
However, Abiteboul’s luxury travel agency saw a throwback to Macy’s. “I have people all over the world asking us to organize three days in Paris with seats for the match day to watch Messi,” he said.
The frantic demand to see Messi in person – even as he watched from the stands instead of playing – saw tickets for PSG’s first game after his signing, at home in Strasbourg, sell for secondhand prices of more than €800.
On Wednesday night, he was due to join fellow superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in a fearsome attacking trio away to Brugge in the Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain said that his number 30 shirt, which sells for 108 euros, sold faster than any other shirt. Activity tracker Talkwalker said that from Friday Messi was first linked to the club in early August to the following Tuesday when he signed, PSG gained 3 million followers across social media platforms.
Once again, the club was not alone
“We’ve seen a jump on social media,” said Enrique Terrigal, co-founder of Volver, an upscale Argentinean chain of restaurants in Paris. Reservations for his main restaurant, a famous hunt for Paris Saint-Germain stars including Messi national Angel Di Maria, flooded in after the Argentine struck a deal.
“Everyone wants to eat what they eat,” Terrigal said.