There are vast sums of money involved in football and a great deal of this money goes to the players. According to Forbes, twelve of the one-hundred highest-paid athletes in the world are footballers, including the top three of the list. That said, here is a look at some of the best-paid players at the moment.
It is no surprise that Messi is currently the world’s best-paid player. His salary at Barcelona is a staggering $92 million, and on top of that, he has endorsements worth $35 million. His biggest sponsors/partners are Adidas, Peps, Lays, Gatorade, Jacobs & Co, MasterCard and Ooredoo.
Messi has been with Barcelona since 2001 and during his time there, he has scored over 600 goals for the club in 687 games and won 34 trophies. Over the years, he has received eight contract extensions, and he looks set to receive a ninth. While he may be 32 years old, he continues to impress and many would agree that he is worth every penny.
Ronaldo is considered by many to be the greatest player but at present, he is not the best paid. His salary at Juventus is $65 million, significantly less than Messi. His salary is also less than Neymar’s, but thanks to indorsements, his total earnings makes him the second best paid. He has endorsements worth $44 million and his biggest sponsors/partners are Nike, Electronic Arts, DAZN, Altice, MTG, and CR7.
Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or five times and during his career, he has won numerous trophies and scored masses of gold.
Neymar completes the top three best-paid footballers in the world, and they are also the top three paid athletes in the world. Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee in 2017, but he did not manage to negotiate the world’s top salary. Nonetheless, PSG pay him $75 million and he earns a further $30 million through endorsements from sponsors/partners such as Nike, MasterCard, Gillette, EA Sports, Red Bull, Beats by Dre, DAZN, and Gaga Milano.
Paul Pogba is not only the best-paid player at Manchester United, he is also the best-paid player in the Premier League. He earns a salary of $29 million, a figure that remains from when he joined the club back in 2016. However, despite his off field popularity, Pogba earns endorsement money of just $4 million from Adidas. This is not as much as some players, and he is likely looking for more.
Andrés Iniesta was with Barcelona for 22 years before he left at the end of the 2017/18 season. During his time with the club, he played 674 games for the first team, scored 57 goals and won an impressive 32 trophies. Furthermore, he won an additional three trophies with Spain, including the FIFA World Cup in which he scored the final’s only goal.
While Iniesta could have remained in Europe for a few more years, he instead decided to move to Japan where he can earn far more money. At Vissel Kobe, he is earning a salary of $30 million, making him the best-paid player outside of Europe. In addition, he earns $2.5 million in endorsements.
Alexis Sánchez was once the best-paid player in the Premier League, before his recent move to Inter Milan. Over the course of his career, he has played for teams such as Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United, before making his return to Serie A.
Sanchez was hugely popular at Arsenal but things did not go as well for him at Manchester United after the two clubs agree to a swap deal involving Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Sanchez managed just five goals in 45 appearances before leaving United. Despite this, he is still earning a salary of $28.3 million with an additional $2.5 million in endorsements.
Kylian Mbappé is one of the youngest players amongst the top earners, but the star player has been impressive since a very young age. He has already scored 89 goals in just 150 games for both Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain, and he has scored 13 international goals in just 33 appearances. Mbappe also holds a number of records, and he is just 20 years old.
At present Mbappe earns just $4 million in endorsements, but it is highly likely that this will rise over the coming years. His salary is presently $26.6 million, but once again, this is sure to rise and he could very well become one of the best-paid players in the world.
Mesut Özil is currently the second best-paid player in the Premier League, both in terms of his salary and his overall earnings. For many years, Özil was considered one of the best playmakers in the world and he had some good seasons in the Premier League. However, he often struggles in the big games and since Unai Emery took over, he has been appearing less and less for the team. Despite this, he has a salary of $23.7 million and earns a further $6.5 million. This incredible salary is one of the things that is making it so difficult to sell him.
Oscar is one of the few players who decided to move to China in the prime of their careers, but a quick glance at his salary tells you exactly why he did so. The former Chelsea player is earning a salary of $27 million, more than many of the already mentioned players. On top of the salary, he earns a further $2 million in endorsement money. Since joining the Chinese Super League, he has played 113 games, scored 36 goals, and won two trophies.
Last summer, Barcelona were eager to sign Antoine Griezmann, but Atletico Madrid were determined to keep their star player and to do so, they had to make him one of the best-paid players in the world. However, this summer Barcelona finally got their way and now Griezmann is earning even more.
Griezmann now has a salary of $23.2 million and earns a further $4.5 million in endorsements. His salary is higher than Luis Suarez’s is and the team will be hoping that he performs just as well. The early signs are good with Griezmann securing two goals and an assist from his first two appearances with the club.
When Gareth Bale left the Premier League in 2013, it was for a then world-record fee after he had established himself as one of the most desirable players in the world. Since then, he has enjoyed a huge amount of success at Real Madrid, despite suffering from injuries. He has scored the winning goal in two of Real Madrid’s Champions League triumphs since he joined, and he scored in the shootout in a third final.
He currently earns a salary of $20.6 million and earns a further $6.5 million through endorsements. This high salary could be one of the reasons that the team have struggled to sell him, but many still believe that he is worth the money.
Since joining Liverpool, Mohamed Salah has developed into one of the best and one of the most recognisable players in the world. The Egyptian earns a salary of $16.1 million, far less than many other players. However, thanks to his popularity in Egypt and a number of other Arab countries, he is able to earn $9 million from endorsements, a figure only exceeded by Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar.
Ángel Di María
Angel Di Maria has played for some of Europe’s top teams before he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2015. As such, he is able to command a very high salary of $21.7 million. On top of that, he pulls in a further $2 million from endorsements. Interestingly, Di Maria earns more than his teammate Edinson Cavani, who has been with the club longer than he has.
Since he moved from Liverpool to Barcelona in 2014, Luis Suarez has been the team’s second best player, behind Messi. He has scored an impressive 177 goals for the club in just 248 appearances, and he has won the European Golden Boot twice, the first time with Liverpool in 2014 and the second with Barcelona in 2016. Suarez has won an impressive 13 trophies with Barcelona and there is every chance he will win more. He earns an impressive salary of $20.1 million on top of which he brings in $3.5 million through endorsements.
At present, Sergio Agüero is the second longest-serving player at Manchester City behind David Silva. He joined the team from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and since then has become City’s all-time leading goal scorer with 235 gaols from just 341 games. Aguero earns an impressive $5.5 million from endorsements each year in addition to a salary of $17.1 million. A figure that is entirely justified considering that he has helped the team win 12 trophies including four league titles in the last eight years.