According to insiders, payment in crypto fan tokens is part of the financial package for Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi’s much-anticipated move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer sensation widely recognized as one of the game’s best players of all time, is said to have included crypto fan tokens in his financial contract with French club Paris Saint-Germain. According to Reuters, the information comes from sources close to the situation.

Messi, 34, who has been with FC Barcelona since he was 13, signed a two-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) this week, with a third-year option. His exit from Barcelona, where he won four Champions League titles, came as a result of the Spanish La Liga’s financial fair play laws, which rendered it financially unviable for the team to keep him.

Messi has won the European Golden Shoe award for best scorer and FIFA’s player of the year award six times each and will reportedly earn $41 million per year (plus bonuses) at PSG, in addition to a $30 million signing bonus. People would be “shocked, honestly, at the numbers we have,” if the specific amounts for the sale were made public, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi remarked at a news conference this week.

The allocation and circumstances of the incorporation of crypto fan tokens in Messi’s contract are unknown as the exact facts are still shrouded in mystery. PSG has been contacted for comment, and Cointelegraph will update this piece if further information becomes available. Chiliz, the blockchain business that runs the sports token platform Socios, where $PSG fan tokens are generated, announced today that $PSG trade volumes increased to almost $1.2 billion in the days leading up to the player’s move.

Fan tokens are still popular in sports around the world, with Fenerbahçe S.K., a renowned Turkish multi-sport club, completing an initial presale of 500,000 tokens on Ethereum this week, earning the company $1.75 million in 30 seconds.

PSG has been involved in crypto since 2018 thanks to a partnership with the Socios blockchain platform, which includes Messi’s former club FC Barcelona among its partners, as well as a slew of other international, high-profile clubs like Atlético de Madrid, Juventus, Manchester City, and a slew of others.

Flash sales of fan tokens are clearly profitable for the clubs involved, and they became even more common during last year’s pandemic-induced lockdowns as a method to improve teams’ digital presence, increase money, and retain fan engagement.

However, critics of the concept contend that the voting rights associated with token ownership provide supporters with little more than a semblance of control over the operations of their favorite teams and amount to a gratuitous monetization of fan participation.