For Paris photographer Olivier Sanchez, there is only one story in town: the new life of Lionel Messi.
Newspapers and magazines around the world harangue his Crystal Pictures agency for images of the Argentine footballer, his wife and children settling into the French capital a month after arriving.
“Today, for me, it is Messi and no one else,” he said. “Everybody wants a piece of him. He is king. Simple.”
When Messi’s childhood club FC Barcelona announced they could not afford to keep the six-times Ballon d’Or winner, French club Paris St Germain (PSG) swooped.
PSG agreed a staggering net salary of 71 million euros ($84 million) over two years, according to media, but club chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi said bluntly that people would be “shocked” by the revenue he would fetch.
The money train extends far beyond the club.
From luxury real estate agents to Argentine restaurant owners, paparazzi to private concierge, 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 break cover from their hotel.
In Barcelona, he won the admiration of locals for his down-to-earth lifestyle, waving at neighbours, enjoying seafront meals and taking his children to bouncy castles.
“If we can get them in a park, or strolling in town, or out at Disneyland Paris, the newspapers will lap it up,” Sanchez said.
Luxury real estate agent Susie Hollands, meanwhile, is scouring the market for a property worthy of a man listed by Forbes as the world’s second highest-paid athlete in 2021. Hollands, founder of boutique real estate group Vingt Paris, has collaborated with PSG before and is familiar with players’ demands.
“Typically, they’re going to want 1,000 square metres – that barely exists in central Paris – and parking for their cars,” Hollands said.
Top-notch security and privacy are also important.
One PSG player, whose housing Hollands worked on, was paying 35,000 euros ($30,000) per month, she said, adding that such a rental contract would earn her 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 agents the club worked with.
For several years after the Emir of Qatar bought PSG in 2011, Yves Abitbol’s concierge company helped settle some of its highest-profile players, organising the house hunt, dealing with banking and insurance paperwork, and finding house staff.
Sometimes he catered for a player’s fancier needs, including visits to sports car dealerships and luxury watch boutiques.
Abitbol said his firm MyConcierge had worked closely with PSG until it created its own internal team several years ago, cutting the likes of him out.
Nonetheless, Abitbol’s upmarket travel agency has seen a Messi bounce. “I’ve got people around the world asking us to organise three days in Paris with seats for match day to watch Messi,” he said.
The red-hot demand to see Messi in person – even when he was just watching from the stands rather than playing – saw tickets for PSG’s first game after his signing, at home to Strasbourg, sell secondhand for over 800 euros.
On Wednesday night, he was set to join fellow superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe in a frightening attacking trio away to Brugge in the Champions League.
His number 30 jersey, which retails at 108 euros, has sold faster than any other, PSG said. Activity tracker Talkwalker said that from the 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.
Again, the club was not alone
“We saw a jump on social media,” said Enrique Tirigall, co-founder of Volver, an upmarket Argentine restaurant chain in Paris. Reservations for his flagship steakhouse, a popular haunt for PSG stars including Messi compatriot Angel Di Maria, flooded in after the Argentine sealed his deal.
“Everybody want to eat what he eats,” Tirigall said.
($1 = 1.1814 euros)
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FIRSTBANK REINFORCES SUPPORT FOR GEORGIAN CUP TOURNAMENT, SPONSORS THE 102ND EDITION IN KADUNA.
FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, the title sponsor of one of polo’s most prestigious trophy, the Georgian Cup is grabbing all the headlines and attention as the 102nd edition of the competition gets underway in Kaduna.
The competition, scheduled to hold 23rd – 30th October 2021 at the Kaduna Polo Club, will feature High Goal teams drawn from across the country who are already on the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running sponsorship in sports and Kaduna El-Amin as the defending Champion.
Expectedly, this year’s edition of the famous Georgian Cup is generating lots of excitement within Kaduna and beyond as combatants storm Kaduna is quest for honour and fame on the turf. Led by the son of former Military Head of State, Mohammed Babangida, the team overpowered the then defending champions, Abuja Rubicon by 9-7 to emerge winner. The victory was the 15th for El-Amin in the competition. Sporting Nigeria’s best player, Bello Buba (19 times winner of Georgian Cup), Argentine imports; Raul and Martin Sowedo, as well as hard hitting Mohammed Babangida (15 times winner), the victory was a soothing balm sort of for their defeat in 2018 and 2019 to Abuja Rubicon.
FirstBank has since maintained the sponsorship of the prestigious cup since 1919 and has remained a key support to the Kaduna Polo Club. This year marks the 102nd year of sponsoring the Georgian Cup Tournament and the sponsorship is reportedly the longest standing sports sponsorship association in the world, a reflection of a long-lasting association that aligns with heritage, values, performance and quality, all worthy of celebration. This year’s also coincides with the unveiling the Remodeled Murtala Square.
Speaking on the Bank’s contribution to sports development in Nigeria, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications of FirstBank, Ms. Folake Ani-Mumuney said “we are always delighted to continue our sponsorship of various sporting events. In line with our nation-building goal, sports have a huge role to play with regards to nation-building which is evident in different elevating qualities such as discipline, determination, teamwork a passion for fitness in the psyche of a nation as well as economic development. And this is in line with our nation-building goal which also involves deliberate long-term support. FirstBank sponsored events include the Georgian Cup of Kaduna Polo Club, for over 100 years; the Dala Tennis Hard Court in Kano Club for over 30 years; the FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship in Ikoyi Club which will be in its 60th year this November and the Obasanjo Pro-Amateur tournament of Abeokuta Club now in its 5th year. The Bank’s influence in the development of sport in Nigeria is under its First@Sport initiative”.
The Georgian Cup, donated by FirstBank in 1918 is the oldest and most respected Polo trophy in West Africa. The Kaduna Polo Club was founded in 1918 by the British Army and is one of the most prestigious clubs in Nigeria.
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years.
With over 750 business locations and over 130,620 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 30 million customers. The Bank has an international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.
The Bank has been handy at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 10million people on its USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code and over 4.5 million people on FirstMobile platform.
Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.
FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is always to put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of the first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is always to deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.
Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications
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