The owners of the clubs invest a large amount of money in their marquee players and given the popularity of the sport, they also land up with a lot of endorsement deals.
Here is a list that tells you how much the highest paid footballers earn:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Earnings: $125 million
Cristiano Ronaldo is undoubtedly the most popular athlete on the planet. It is fair that one of the best footballers of all time is also the highest-paid one in the world.
Although his transfer to Manchester United from Juventus means that he would be earning less than what he was getting with the Italian club, he still manages to gain the top spot on the list with total earnings of $125 million.
2. Lionel Messi
Earnings: $110 million
The Argentinean striker who has recently been signed by the French club PSG is placed second on the list behind his arch-rival.
Messi will be receiving $75 million as salary from his new club and his endorsement deals earn him an extra $35 million, making his total earnings $110 million.
Messi and Ronaldo are also the only two footballers earning more than $100 million in the sport.
3. Neymar Jr.
Earnings: $95 million
The second player of PSG on the list of highest-paid footballers is the Brazilian star Neymar Jr.
Neymar too has a contract worth $75 million with the French club but his sponsorship deals account for $20million summing his earning to $95 million making him the third richest footballer.
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4. Kylian Mbappe
Earnings: $43 million
Another player from the French club is the French Forward Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe has estimated earnings of $43 million.
$28 million as his salary from PSG and the rest $15 million from endorsement deals which includes Hubolt and Nike. In 2020, the Ligue 1 player became the youngest player to grace the cover of FIFA 2021.
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5. Mohamed Salah
Earnings: $41 million
The second player from the Premier League on the list is the Egyptian superstar, Mohamed Salah, who plays for the English club Liverpool.
He earns $25 million from the Reds and $16 million comes from sponsorship deals. His endorsement deals include Pepsi and Adidas. The athlete has also been featured in Adidas’s ‘Impossible is Nothing’ campaign.
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6. Robert Lewandowski
Earnings: $35 million
The only Bundesliga player on the list is the Polish striker Lewandowski who plays for the German club Bayern Munich.
The club pays Lewandowski $27 million annually and the athlete earns $8 million through endorsement that includes some big brands like Huawei and Nike.
Lewandowski, along with his wife, owns Foods by Ann to sell his signature RL9 Coffee and a nutritional line of snacks and drinks.
7. Andres Iniesta
Earnings: $35 million
After 22 years, the Spanish midfielder parted ways with his club Barcelona and joined the Japanese club Vissel Kobe in 2018. Iniesta has reported earnings of $35 million dollars; $31 million are paid by his club as salary.
Also, in 2018, Iniesta ended his deal with Nike and signed a sponsorship deal for Japan-based Asics.
Outside the field, Iniesta has his own sportswear brand, Mikakus, and a Spain-based winery Bodega Iniesta.
8. Paul Pogba
Earnings: $34 million
One more player on the list from the Red Devils is the French midfielder Paul Pogba. Manchester United pays his $27 million annually and he earns an extra $7 million through endorsement deals.
His portfolio includes Adidas and Pepsico. Pogba also signed a deal with Amazon Studios to film a documentary series about his life, “The Pogmentary,” which is scheduled to be released in 2022.
9. Gareth Bale
Earnings: $32 million
After the departure of Lionel Messi, Gareth Bale has become the highest-paid footballer in LaLiga. Real Madrid pays bale $26 million dollars annually and his sponsorship deals earn him around $6 million.
Apart from being one of the most famous footballers, Bale is also an avid golfer and could be seen posting golf videos on his social media.
In 2020, Bale launched his own esports company Ellevens Esports to compete in the FIFA eClub World Cup.
10. Eden Hazard
Earnings: $29 million
The Belgian forward who plays for the Spanish club Real Madrid is also one of the highest-paid footballers in the world. He draws $26 million from his club and $3 million from other endorsement deals.
His biggest sponsorship deal is with Nike. The athlete has also signed an endorsement deal with China’s Sina Sports to do an editorial spread and with Lotus, Bakeries to do a social media campaign around its famous Biscoff brand of biscuits.
Footballers enjoy huge stardom and a lavishing lifestyle. Every year, footballers remain one of the highest-paid athletes in the world.
Despite being the most popular sport in the world, the highest-paid footballers are from European clubs. So has your favorite player made the cut?