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Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s first contracts revealed including tiny £516 monthly wage

Figures have emerged that show a huge difference between Cristiano Ronaldo's first contract with Sporting CP and Lionel Messi's initial deal with Catalan giants Barcelona.

Ronaldo kicked off his professional career with the Lisbon club, making his first-team debut in a Champions League qualifier against Inter Milan in August 2002, before his eye-catching displays won him a £12million switch to Manchester United 12 months later. His long-time rival Messi, joined Barcelona's youth system from Newell's Old Boys in 2000 and rose through the ranks at the Camp Nou to make his debut four years later, helping Barca lift La Liga title in his first season in 2004/05.

The superstar duo are both worth billions now, but it was a very different story when they started out. According to the Daily Mail, Ronaldo earned an annual wage of £860,000 after penning his first contract at Sporting CP, a figure that doubled to £1.8m per year after making the move to Old Trafford.

In comparison, El Futbolero claim that Messi earned just £516 per-month as a youth player at Barcelona, before his wage packet shot up to around £2.6m per year after agreeing his first professional deal in 2004. Messi's first pro deal ran for eight years and initially included a buyout clause of €30million that quickly rose to €80m after he debuted for La Masia's B team.

The two players have gone onto dominate world football in the last 17 years, winning a staggering 13 Ballon d'Ors and 13 Champions League titles between them. Ronaldo top the charts in both the La Liga and European Cup for the most goals scored and have also won captained Portugal and Argetina respectively to major silverware, most recently with the latter's triumph in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.