Football fans assemble! As we are about to reveal the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world. Though the list may change every year, a few remain constant, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Football being a lucrative sport is played in over 200 countries worldwide. As you are reading this, there could be many names popping in your head now.
This time, Lionel Messi who has been the leading figure for quite a few years is replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo as he has overtaken him in this year’s list.
No doubt, each of them is exceptionally talented and has an enormous fan base all over the world. But, hey, their talent also reflects on the salaries and bonuses they receive every year.
Without further ado, here's the list of the top 10 highest-paid footballers in the world. We have listed down the figures as the sum of their total earnings.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United): $125 Million
The list had to start with him! Safe to say, he is the most popular athlete on the planet now. Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer. He is also the most expensive soccer player in the history of the sport.
With a successful 18-year career, Ronaldo has won 32 major trophies, including five UEFA Champions League titles, the UEFA European Championship for his native Portugal, and seven league titles in England, Spain, and Italy, making him the first player to win titles in the three countries.
Cristiano Ronaldo is someone who never stops working! Taking quite a move, he has returned home to the Manchester United club. Apart from this, he has endorsements worth US$55 million. Including brands deal with Nike, he also owns his own CR7 brand that is present in several fields.
I see football as an art and all players are artists. If you are a top artist, the last thing you would do is paint a picture somebody else has already painted.- Cristiano Ronaldo
2. Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain) : $110 Million
Messi has been the greatest footballer ever. He is also nicknamed “The Flea” for his diminutive stature. Messi leaving the Barcelona club due to La Liga's financial rules is the end of a glorious era.
Over 21 years with the only team he ever knew, Lionel Messi scored 672 goals and had 268 assists on his way to 35 titles and 78 awards (including a record six Ballon d’Or trophies for the sport’s best player).
Messi holds endorsements worth US$35 million. He has collaborated with brands like Adidas, Pepsi, and even Budweiser amongst others. His new salary at Paris Saint-Germain is a cut from what he would have made if he could have stayed at Barçelona.
Barcelona gave me everything, they took a chance on me when nobody else would. I never have any desire to play for anybody else, I will be here for as long as they want me.- Lionel Messi
3. Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain): $95 Million
The second player of PSG club Neymar stands third in the list. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer. Neymar will team up with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar became a social media sensation last November, making him the third-most-popular athlete on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, with 284 million followers. He has endorsements worth US$20 million, including a new deal with Puma, that has celebrated his flashy style.
Later this year, the 29-year-old signed a four-year contract extension to stay in the French capital until 2025 and remains the highest-paid player on the team.
There are players that try to imitate others, but at free-kick time it is a personal thing. Every person has their own technique and routine when they stand over the ball and I have mine, I am not trying to copy anyone.- Neymar
4. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain): $43 Million
You can call him the leader of the next generation, as Kylian Mbappe may soon cross that mark. This 22-year-old Frenchman has rejected the contract extension with PSG that would have seen him earn similar figures as Neymar and Messi.
At just 22, Kylian has won the Golden Boy Award - 2017, Kopa Trophy Award - 2018, FIFA World Cup Best Young Player Award - 2018, French Player of the Year Award - 2018 amongst others. He also holds endorsements worth US$15 million.
Last year, EA Sports gave him the solo cover of FIFA 21, making him one of the youngest to make it there. Kylian will be back as the face of FIFA 22, making him the first since Cristiano Ronaldo to get back-to-back covers.
People come to the stadium to forget their lives for 90 minutes, and it's up to us to give them satisfaction; to get them out of their chairs and to fall asleep with stars in their eyes.- Kylian Mbappe
5. Mohammed Salah (Liverpool): $41 Million
Mohamed Salah Hamed Mahrous Ghaly is an Egyptian professional footballer. He is best known for his finishing, dribbling, and speed.
Right since he joined Roma in Italy in 2017, he has been among both Liverpool and the Premier League’s top goal scorers. Mohammed Salah scored his 100th for his club, becoming the fastest to do so in its history.
So far, he has won, Premier League Golden Boot: 2017–18, Premier League Player of the Season: 2017–18, African Footballer of the Year: 2017. Salah also has endorsements worth US$16 million.
Football for me was nothing but a game. Maybe it was not even a hobby. Maybe it was a distraction – an impossible dream.- Mohamed Salah
6. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich): $35 Million
Robert Lewandowski is a Polish professional footballer, who stands sixth on the list. Scooping the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year 2020, 32-year-old striker shows no signs of slowing down in his career.
He owns endorsements worth US$8 million adding to his earnings from Nike, Huawei, and Head & Shoulders, among others. He also owns a clothing brand called RL9.
As per reports, his contract with Bayern expires in 2023, but Robert wants another top European club before the age of 35.
Contracts are not a holy relic in football. You can like this attitude or not, but it’s the truth. Sometimes you have to think about if it is meaningful to try out a new impulse.- Robert Lewandowski
7. Andres Iniesta (Vissel Kobe): $35 Million
Andres Iniesta is a Spanish professional football player who signed a one-year contract extension with Japanese outfit Vissel Kobe.
He started his career at the age of 10 when he entered the Albacete youth squad. In 1999, Andres led the Barcelona Under-15 team to the win in the Nike Premier Cup and was named the player of the tournament.
He has badged, FIFA World Cup in 2010, UEFA European Championship in 2008 and 2012; UEFA European Under-17 and Under-19 Championship in the year 2001 and 2002 along with many more such victories. He also has endorsements worth US$4 million.
If there is one thing that all players have in common it is that winning, competitive gene; the ability to overcome obstacles and fight for what you want from your career.- Andres Iniesta
8. Paul Pogba (Manchester United): $34 Million
The second Manchester United player on the list, is a French professional footballer. With just one year left on his contract, he could soon leave the club.
Paul Pogba also has a lucrative 10-year contract with sportswear brand Adidas. He has won the Golden Boy Award: 2013, PFA Team of the Year: 2019, Serie A Team of the Year: 2016, 2015, 2014.
The midfielder is also one of the highest-earning footballers in the Premier League. Pogba has endorsements worth US$7 million.
If I play a bad game, I know I played a bad game. If I play a good game, I know I played a good game. So I don’t need anyone to tell me if I did good or bad – because I know it.- Paul Pogba
9. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): $32 Million
Gareth Frank Bale is a Welsh professional footballer. He was once the most expensive player in football history. Bale is best known for his impressive left foot, speed, and physical qualities.
As per reports, Bale was sent on loan to Tottenham last season due to clashes with his manager Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. As of now, the 32-year-old will return to the Bernabeu for the last season on his current contract.
As a kid, you obviously dream of being a professional footballer. I would watch players like Ronaldo of Brazil and pretend to be him in the playground. But I don't think about trying to become one of the best in the world or anything like that. I just play football.- Gareth Bale
10. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid): $29 Million
Eden Hazard is a Belgian professional football player who began his career at the age of 4. He has been a star in the Premier League for almost a decade now.
Hazard mainly plays in the position of attacking midfielder and left wing. He is best known for his speed, creativity, technical and passing ability.
He has collaborated with brands like McDonald’s in his native Belgium and has deals with Nike and Nissan. Eden also holds endorsements worth US$3 million.
I was always looking out of the window, looking at my watch, thinking about when I could play football.- Gareth Bale
Who is your favourite football player? Let us know in the comment section!