Highest Paid Soccer Players in the World: How Much Do They Earn?
It’s no longer headline news that professional soccer players are one of the most well-paid individuals in the world. Even such knowledge doesn’t take away the shock of realizing the phenomenal amounts of money these players make. But, considering the number of soccer fans worldwide and the frenzy that surrounds events such as the Euros or World Cup, it begins to make sense. The highest paid soccer players deserve the attention that’s due to them.
Again, it’s only natural for you to analyze these superstars’ different angles, such as is the highest paid player automatically the best player? While you’re pondering that thought, let’s take a look at the top 5 highest paid soccer players in the World.
If you’re a soccer fan, then some of the names on this list are not surprising, but there are a few that you probably have never considered.
Top 10 of the highest-paid soccer players today
Please sit back, relax and enjoy our findings on the take-home pay of the world’s highest paid soccer players. Brace yourself for some of the pulse-racing, eye-watering figures you will see on this list. Whether or not you think they deserve it, these athletes earn the kind of money most of us will only ever dream of but never touch. That’s the earning power these talented soccer players have at their disposal.
Are you ready?
Then please fasten your seatbelts:
1. Lionel Messi – $130m
Messi, the 34-year-old talisman of the Argentinian team, is their star player for scoring goals. He earns £94.7m as a basic salary, but the rest comes from endorsements and sponsorships. Messi is an enigma both on the pitch and off it. His contracts and partnerships fetch him a cool £33m.
He also makes another notable achievement in the history of soccer. Messi is the proud winner of the most Ballons d’Or, with six in total. As you can see, Messi makes things happen on the pitch, which adds to the excitement for the fans in the stadium and at home.
His fame also brings Messi untold wealth, placing him at the top of the list of the highest paid soccer players in the world. Messi ranks second on the list of Forbes’s world’s highest-paid athletes, which is a spectacular achievement. Cristiano Ronaldo closely rivals him in both play and earnings.
2. CHRISTIANO RONALDO – $120m
Ronaldo, the 36-year-old Portuguese international, plays for Manchester United, and his contract with Juventus expires on 30 June 2022. Like Messi, this remarkable player is the talisman of the team. Ronaldo still has the consistency to be the highest scorer for his country and score wonder goals regularly. His fans worldwide stare in awe and amazement with his touch and awareness on the pitch and unmistakable leadership qualities.
Under his contract with Juventus football club, Ronaldo rakes in $61m per year. If you think that is mind-boggling, here is something else to digest. Ronaldo signed up with Nike for a lifetime partnership worth $1 billion, which is just one deal. Other endorsements include hotels, clothing lines and perfumes. Ronaldo’s earnings are genuinely mind-blowing, making him the second highest paid soccer player in the world.
Despite his advancing years, Ronaldo beats all the odds because of his high levels of physical fitness and is always the first and last player on the training ground. It gives him the edge over most other players in the twilight of their careers because this commitment commands a significant amount of discipline, which Ronaldo delivers.
3. Neymar Da Silva Santos Júnior– $95m
Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain was phenomenal. It was the most expensive transfer in history at $262,821,000 (222 million euros), which catapulted Neymar into the “Big Time” League. His basic salary is $76m, and the remaining $19m is in endorsement sign-ups.
Neymar’s significant endorsements include big brand names like Nike, Panasonic, Puma, Epic Games, Qatar, Red Bull, Flutter Entertainment, and Thriller. Even at third position as one of the highest paid soccer players globally, Neymar makes some serious money and is in the sixth position on the Forbes list of the world’s most highly paid athletes.
Neymar stands out as one of the most prolific scorers in Brazil’s footballing history. His scoring goals place him on the center stage of soccer, alongside all the other greats of the modern game. When Neymar is injured or suspended, fans certainly miss the excitement and anticipation that comes with his presence on the field. When this 29-year-old star does not play, his supporters feel a genuine sense of loss, despite his emotional volatility and occasional underwhelming performances on the pitch.
Such reactions make you understand why talented players are so sought after and ultimately attract the big bucks despite their critics.
4. Kylian Mbappe- $42m
Mbappe is a sensational new talent who plays for Paris Saint-Germain and the French national team. His salary in 2020 was a staggering $28million, and in addition to this made $14million in endorsements. His earnings may look “meager” in comparison with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo, but he is in the fourth position of the highest paid soccer players worldwide. He is number 31 on Forbes list of the highest paid athletes in the world.
But when you begin to break down these figures, Mbappe’s earnings will start to make your head spin. At one point in 2020, Forbes mentioned Mbappe as the most sought-after star in world football. He has an excellent overall rating of 90 on the FIFA 21 list, compared to Messi on 93, followed by Ronaldo on 92. He was on the list of the top 100 stars.
Mbappe notched 63 assists in 174 games and scored 133 goals. You can see why the French player is a star in the making and is already making waves on the field and earning power. His mentor is Cristiano Ronaldo, and even though his earnings are way lower than Ronaldo’s, it is easy to identify the contagious enthusiasm with which Mbappe plays.
5. Mohamed Salah Ghaly- $37M
Are you surprised? Yes, Salah has made it to fifth position on the highest paid soccer players today. His basic salary from Liverpool stands at $27million, and the rest is from endorsements. Salah is a prolific goal scorer with a remarkable record.
Since his debut in 2017, he has scored nearly 100 goals in 148 games for Liverpool, which is an impressive strike rate. He has also netted 29 goals in European competitions, together with seven playing for Egypt. Amongst the many accolades in his locker are the PFA Player’s Player of the Year, Best FIFA Men’s Player award, and the Premiership Golden Boot in his debut season at Anfield. The BBC and CAF have also named Salah as African Footballer of the Year.
The 29-year-old Egyptian international deserves to join the likes of Ronaldo and Messi as the talisman for the team. He is the only Premier League player amongst the highest paid soccer player list, making it more impressive. Salah has become the first ambassador for Vodafone’s international schools programme, which provides education to half a million refugees working with UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency)
Wow, these guys make the kind of amounts that keep you up at night wondering if you made the right career choice. But then the truth is that they are incredibly talented, so they attract the kind of pay they earn. Then, you can see that endorsements and sponsorships make a significant contribution to the superstars’ earning. Landing deals with Nike, Adidas, and Vodaphone have set most of these top players for the rest of their lives. It makes your nerves tingle. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s narrow the subject a little and take and a deeper glimpse into:
The Highest Paid Soccer Player – 2021
Soccer is the world’s most popular ball game, and for both players and fans alike, soccer holds a certain magic. You may know that football began in Britain in the 19th century. Do you know that at the turn of the 21st century, the estimate of football players stood at approximately 250 million, with a worldwide interest of 1.3 billion people?
Even with the severe restrictions caused by the recent pandemic, its appeal did not wane. You are probably aware that the world’s best athletes had to take pay cuts and play to empty stadiums or in insolation bubbles.
Despite this, three top soccer players made it to the list of ten of the highest paid athletes in the world, namely Messi, Ronaldo, and Neymar. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo managed to surpass $100m in total earnings, as economies around the globe suffered financial meltdowns. Let’s look at:
Messi, the talisman of Paris Saint-Germain and Argentina, is the highest paid soccer player in 2021. The highly talented superstar has reportedly earned an astonishing £470 million (€555m) over four years with his previous deal at Barcelona.
Messi’s net worth is at an estimated £309 million ($400m). Forbes ranks Messi as first on their list of highest-earning celebrities. It makes him one of the highest paid footballers and athlete in the world. Despite fierce competition from his close rival Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi still claims the top spot as the highest paid soccer player in 2021.
His annual take-home salary is £59 million per year (€70million), excluding endorsements and sponsorship deals. To put this into context, he earns approximately £4.9m per month, or almost €6 million. If you break this down, it equates to roughly £940,000 per week, £135,000 per day, £5625 per hour, and almost £100.00 per minute. Not a bad return for playing a game of soccer that lasts for 90 minutes in standard time.
Beyond a doubt, this Argentine superstar has set an earning pace in the realm of soccer. It doesn’t matter what category you look the guy star everywhere. Even in La Liga, this Nou Camp star is recognized as a top earner.
Here is some insight into his 2020/21 season. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner played 60 games for FC Barcelona in the Spanish La Liga, scoring 46 goals. He played in four different cup competitions, including the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers of 2022, winning Barcelona’s Copa Del Ray trophy.
Why is Lionel Messi the highest-paid soccer player in 2021?
Daily Mail reports, in March 2021, Lionel Messi’s pay was more than double that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s £46.5million (£3.8m gross per month) salary. In the same report, Barcelona is in debt to the tune of £1.15billion due to years of mismanagement. Despite this, Messi still takes home a gross monthly pay of £7 million.
Compare this to the likes of another superstar, Gareth Bale of Real Madrid and Wales, who earns £26.5million per year. From the latest figures, Messi leaves his rivals behind and rakes in just under double the salary of Ronaldo. If you add the endorsement deals and investments to his basic pay, this 34-year-old superstar’s earning power is phenomenal both on and off the pitch. Messi appeals to sponsors and businesses alike because of his image as a “pure footballer.”
Sources claim that he plays down his superstar status and instead focuses on his brand than other ventures. His humble approach and lifestyle is in itself a brand that is attractive to sponsors. In 2019 he launched his clothing line and opened his first retail outlet, The Messi Store, in Barcelona.
Since 2006, Messi has had a lifelong deal with German sportswear company Adidas, earning him a cool $25 million. Messi has invested in personal building projects in his birthplace of Rosario in Argentina, which has boosted his income even further. It comes as no surprise Messi has become only the second footballer to earn over a billion dollars, according to the Forbes’ rich list in 2020.
He has netted over $1 billion in pre-tax earnings during his career, following in the footsteps of the illustrious Cristiano Ronaldo. This mouth-watering sum of money further cements his status as the highest paid soccer player in 2021
Highest paid soccer players per week
You now know that Messi is the “Numero Uno” for 2021 and tops each list for earnings. More than ever, you can now appreciate that these stars don’t just rely on basic salaries, but they are marketing strategists in making money. Some of these soccer players still remember their roots despite their insane earnings.
Players like Mo Saleh from Egypt have done much for their countries to improve the common good. Messi and Ronaldo have had the same spirit applied in their hometowns. However, to participate in some of these projects, you need money to influence certain circles.
So, let’s explore how much these soccer players earn weekly and how they fare on our list of the top 5:
1. Lionel Messi: Plays for PSG – £960,000 Weekly.
When you think of Messi, the first words you associate with the Argentinian star player are soccer, football, and highly paid. He certainly does live up to his name as a “Magician Soccer player.” He is also known as “the PSG ace” or “former Barcelona man.” So, let’s celebrate and acknowledge him as number one on the list of the highest paid soccer players per week.
He rakes in a spine-tingling amount of £960,000 weekly. Even more staggering is that if this fantastic striker had signed with one of the richest football clubs Barcelona, his take-home would be £1.1million in a week. But Spanish La Liga’s stipulations on finance and structure blew this deal out of the water, so he had to leave his boyhood football club.
His new deal is not to be sniffed at because he signed up for £25m per year. And this is without the bonuses, appearance, and sign-on fees, so if you add these extras, Messi is likely to take over £1million. That is not the end of the story because there is more. Messi has external endorsements, contracts, and sponsorships to boost his income.
Messi’s pay per week is jaw-dropping, to say the least, especially when you think he has the potential to increase his earnings. He has numerous endorsement deals with Gatorade, Pepsi, Budweiser, Lays, Ooredoo, Konami, and Orcam. Together with a lifetime deal with Adidas, Messi’s future will be shining brightly even after his football career is over.
2. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Plays for Juventus – £900,000 weekly
Messi and Ronaldo are right up there when you consider the most highly paid soccer players.
Ronaldo ranks third after Messi, who takes second place even on the Forbes World’s highest paid athletes of 2021. He brings home £900,000 per week, placing him second on the list of the highest paid soccer players per week. His weekly pay is close to £1m, and you may also be aware that this superstar has an income from his CR7 brand.
Herbalife and Nike are some of his major sponsors.
The Portuguese player is the top goal scorer in football history after scoring for Juventus in the 2021 Italian Super Cup, triumphing over Napoli. It was a most memorable performance, and his popularity has exploded as a result.
Statistics on social media show that Ronaldo has a 517million following, while Messi trails with 298million and Neymar on 195million. So, Ronaldo by far is the most popular sportsman and athlete.
Unfortunately, being popular does not escalate his pay any further.
3. Neymar: Plays for PSG – £600,000 weekly.
This Brazilian superstar puts his country in the spotlight in the world of soccer. In 2016, his performance saw Brazil win an Olympic Gold Medal for the first time in men’s soccer. He is famed for his scoring ability, and of course, we dared not forget his historical transfer fee from Barcelona to PSG in 2017.
Neymar is smashing it as the third highest paid soccer player per week.
And why not, because the talented soccer player cost Paris Saint-German €222 million, breaking a world record. He must be worth his weight in gold because he comes sixth on the list of the world’s most highly paid athletes of 2021.
Neymar’s dribbling skills, technique, tricks, and playmaking remind his fans of Ronaldinho. Many of them say that the Brazilian soccer player gives an electrifying performance on the pitch. In 2020, EA Sports’ FIFA listed Ronaldo, Mbappe, and Neymar as players with a five-star rating. Every year, the series recognizes players with the best blend of skills.
How is that for fame?
While his endorsements don’t come anywhere near Messi’s and Ronaldo’s, Neymar makes a substantial $19m. His sponsors are some of the biggest names in the sports world, such as Nike and Puma. He is also signed up for marketing strategies for companies such as Red Bull and Qatar airlines.
4. Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz: Plays for Atlético Madrid – £575,000 weekly.
He takes up Antoine Griezmann’s position on the pitch in the Atlético Madrid team. Nonetheless, the Ex-Barcelona superstar was very attached to his football club. You can see this in his tearful goodbye to the club and fans. He also had a close relationship with Messi.
His football club sold him for a modest fee. Reports claimed that Barcelona sold off Suárez to sign Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan. Perhaps the outrage at Barcelona fired up the Uruguay star to claim the La Liga title for Atlético.
The Uruguay striker has a love of biting his opponents, which has cost him dearly. Social media posts of his antics went viral, affecting his deals with big brands such as Adidas. They value performance and integrity, so biting into Italian Giorgio Chiellini’s shoulder is certainly not a “good performance.” He also lost out on the deal with the Poker brand 888.
Regardless of all the negativity surrounding Suàrez, his talent still earns him a weekly lump sum of £575,000. He stands proud as the fourth in the list of the highest paid soccer players per week.
5. Antoine Griezmann: Plays for Barcelona – £575,000 weekly
Here is yet another football star making waves in the transfer world. In 2019, Griezmann’s transfer from Atlético Madrid to Barcelona cost the club €120 million, the fifth most expensive in the history of transfers. Sources reveal that the amount does not match the formidable striker’s performance at Nou Camp. His lights have not shined brightly, but neither have they dimmed, so it reflects an uncertain future for the French superstar.
But guess what? It doesn’t stop the soccer player from taking the fifth position among the highest paid soccer players per week. He earns £575000 weekly and started his eSports team in 2020 and his major sponsorships are Puma, Chinese giant Huawei, Head & Shoulders, EA Sports, and Gillette. He is also the marketing brand for Dr. Dre’s Beats. In 2019, L’E’quipe mentioned Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe as the most highly paid athletes in France.
That’s how much your football icons earn per week. As you can see, Lionel Messi heads nearly every category as the top earner, closely followed by Cristiano Ronaldo. But some of the names on this list make you gasp not because you criticize the players but because their earning power is eye-popping.
Mbappe and Salah on the top list of the highest earners per week? That comes as a pleasant surprise. You may want to consider that for these talented players to grace such powerful lists is one thing, but staying on top is quite another in itself.