Morning Blast: Soccer Star Mbapp\u00e9 Weighs $330 Million Offer; X, Simple but Complicated

World football (soccer) is the home of the globe’s three highest-paid athletes. Christiano Ronaldo tops the list with earnings of $136 million between May 2022 and May 2023. Number 2 was Lionel Messi, who earned $130 million in salary and off-field payments, and number 3 was Kylian Mbappé, who made $120 million over the period.

Now Mbappé, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain (aka, PSG) in France’s La Liga, has an offer that puts everyone else in the also-ran group. Saudi Arabian team Al Hilal has reportedly offered Mbappé a $330 million one-year contract. That’s just for playing. Off-field endorsements and other activities could raise Mbappé’s one-year payday to an eye-watering $776 million.

Mbappé is 24 years old and was a member of France’s 2018 World Cup championship team when he was just 18. His PSG salary this year is about $79.5 million and his contract with the team expires next year. Ronaldo is 38 years old, and Messi, who signed a two-year contract worth $120 million to $150 million to play for Miami, is 36. Ronaldo’s paychecks are signed by Saudi team Al Nassr. Messi turned down a three-year deal from the Saudis that was reportedly worth $1.6 billion.

As for Mbappé, he is likely to have already agreed to join Spain’s Real Madrid next year for a reported $178 million. That’s why the Saudi offer covers just one year, and is backed by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Twitter’s brand identity as X became official Monday. The little blue bird is being replaced as the company’s logo by a Unicode character, U+1D54F (𝕏), that has been around for more than 20 years. The company will have to make some changes to the basic character in order to get copyright protection, but that should not be too hard. X chair Elon Musk already has thought of that.

Perhaps a thornier issue is the right to use the name X at all. Meta Platforms received trademark registration for X in 2019. In a 229-word sentence describing what the registration covered, there’s this bit: “computer software for sending, receiving and organizing electronic mail, messaging, enabling internet chat and social networking.” That sounds like X might be stepping on Meta’s toes. Microsoft also has a claim on X as a service mark, but that applies only to video games.

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