A player’s abilities on the field, the level of football they are playing at, the club they are playing for, and their marketability in terms of jersey sales determine their weekly wages. Other factors that may increase their income include getting a bonus per goal, providing an assist, scoring a hattrick, keeping a clean sheet, and winning a trophy. The richest footballers in the world make their money both on and off the pitch through salaries and endorsements.
Although weekly wages are the primary sources of wealth for footballers, many of them make money from endorsements and other business interests. Many also receive wages playing for their countries, although the amount is incomparable to how much they earn from clubs.
20 richest footballers in the world
Footballers' salaries have been on the rise in the past few years. As the sport grows both in the fanbase and revenue collection, players' salaries are revised upwards. This is why modern footballers are wealthier than the greats who plied their trade a couple of years ago. These are the richest footballers in the world right now.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo - net worth: $500 million
After moving to Juventus FC in 2018, he received a salary of $61 million and an additional $47 million from endorsements. More than 40% of his income in 2019 came from endorsement deals.
2. Lionel Messi - net worth: $400 million
The Barcelona FC captain took a pay cut of 70% in March 2020 that cost him an estimated $50 million in gross pay. However, he still managed to make $104 million in 2020.
3. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior - net worth: $200 million
Neymar is one of the wealthiest football players with a net worth $200 million. In 2017, he signed a 5-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain worth $350 million in salary after the French club had paid $246 million to buy him from Barcelona.
The Brazilian international made $95.5 million in earnings in 2020. Of this income, $70.5 million came from his salary and $25 million from endorsements.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic - net worth: $190 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been a professional footballer at the highest level of the game. He has played for various top clubs across Europe, including Ajax, Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and AC Milan.
Throughout his career, Zlatan has won over 30 trophies and earned millions in wages. He is among the wealthiest footballers in the world with a net worth of $190 million.
5. Wayne Rooney - net worth: $170 million
Wayne Rooney has a net worth of &170 million, which has mostly come from the salaries he has earned while playing for various clubs in England and the USA. In 2018, he ranked at number 58 among the world’s highest-paid athletes by Forbes with earnings of $27 million. Although football earnings are his primary source of wealth, he has endorsement deals with different companies.
6. Gareth Bale - net worth: $145 million
Gareth Bale has a contract with Real Madrid FC that ends in June 2022 worth $33 million in bonuses and salary. In 2020, Forbes ranked him at number 73 in the world’s highest-paid athletes with annual earnings of $25.2 million. The amount included $19.7 million in salaries and $5.5 million in endorsements, which has contributed to his net worth of $145 million.
7. Paul Pogba - net worth: $125 million
Paul Pogba joined Manchester United in 2016 in a record-breaking transfer fee of $120 million. He signed a 5-year contract worth $20 million per year. The French international made $28.5 million in 2020, with $23 million from salaries and $5.5 million from endorsements. His net worth is $125 million.
8. Mesut Ozil - net worth: $120 million
Mesut Ozil signed a contract with Arsenal FC that would keep him at the London club until 2021. In return for his services, he has been receiving $24 million annually. His net worth of $120 million has also come from endorsements and business interests. He founded M10 eSports in 2018, an eSports team that competes in Fortnite and EA Sports FIFA competitions.
9. Eden Hazard - net worth: $100 million
Eden Hazard joined Real Madrid on 1 June 2019 at a fee of $126.50 million. He signed a 5-year contract with the Los Blancos to keep him at the club until 2024. Hazard is one of the highest-paid footballers in Real Madrid with weekly earnings of $250,000 after taxes, with bonuses added on top of his base wage. That amount has contributed significantly to his net worth of $100 million.
10. Kylian Mbappe - net worth: $95 million
Kylian Mbappe makes $20 million annually in the form of salaries and performance bonuses at Paris Saint-Germain. In 2020, Forbes ranked him at number 36 in the world’s highest-paid athletes with an income of $33.8 million. At 21 years of age, Mbappe has a net worth of $95 million, which has come from salaries as a professional footballer and endorsements.
11. Mohamed Salah - net worth: $90 million
Mohamed Salah has a net worth of $90 million which makes him the richest footballer in Africa. The Egyptian forward renewed his contract with Liverpool FC that would keep him at the club for five years. In 2020, he was the 34th highest-paid athlete in the world with an annual income of $35.1 million from which $12 million came from endorsements.
12. Robert Lewandowski - net worth: $85 million
Robert Lewandowski is a Polish international who plays for Bayern Munich. He joined the German side in 2014 on a free transfer and renewed his contract in 2019 to keep him at the club until 2023. That would entitle him to a base salary of $24 million per year. In 2020, he was among the highest-paid footballers in the world after receiving $30 million.
13. Arjen Robben - net worth: $80 million
Arjen Robben has played football at a professional level for some of the biggest clubs in Europe. In 2009, he left Real Madrid and signed for Bayern Munich at a transfer fee of $27.50 million and stayed at the club for ten years. As of 2020, his salary is $7.5 million, and his accumulated net worth is $80 million.
14. Gerard Pique - net worth: $80 million
Gerard Pique is one of the most celebrated Spanish internationals. He has also played for Barcelona since 2008 after transferring from Manchester United for a fee of $5.50m. In 2017, he was among the highest-paid footballers with annual earnings of $17.7 million. As of 2020, his salary is $10 million and has a net worth of $80 million.
15. Mario Balotelli - net worth: $80 million
Mario Balotelli joined AC Monza in 2020 after playing for Brescia for a year. Despite playing for seven clubs throughout his career, his talent on the field allowed him to receive huge salaries. In 2014, he had an estimated net worth of $35 million, which has now increased to $80 million in 2020. His annual income is $7 million.
16. Sergio Aguero - net worth: $80 million
Sergio Aguero plays his professional football at Manchester City, a club he joined in 2011 after a transfer fee of $44 million from Atletico Madrid. In 2018, Forbes ranked him at number 86 in the world’s highest-paid athletes after making $22.6 million. As of 2020, his annual salary is $23.5 million which has contributed to his net worth of $80 million.
17. Sergio Ramos - net worth: $80 million
Sergio Ramos joined Real Madrid in 2005. Since then, he has played over 600 games for the Los Blancos and won numerous titles. Per soccer players net worth, the Spanish international has an accumulated wealth of $80 million. His annual salary in 2020 was $21.8 million, with $3 million coming from endorsements and the rest for salaries and winnings.
18. David de Gea - net worth: $75 million
David de Gea plays as a goalkeeper for Manchester United FC and Spain national team. Per footballers net worth, he is the richest footballer in the world with a net worth of $75 million. He has a contract with the English side until 2023 that is worth $23 million annually. In 2020, his salary plus endorsements amounted to $25.7 million.
19. Franck Ribery - net worth: $70 million
Franck Ribery made his net worth of $70 million through a successful career playing football at the highest level. His base salary is $17 million per year and makes about $1 million annually from endorsements. Currently, he plays for Serie A club Fiorentina.
20. Givanildo Vieira de Sousa (Hulk) - net worth: $70 million
Givanildo Vieira de Sousa, commonly known as Hulk, is a Brazilian international who plays for Chinese side Shanghai SIPG as a forward. He signed for the Chinese club in 2016 after an Asian football record transfer of $61.38 million.
Part of the agreement was that he would receive a weekly salary of over $400,000, which translates to over $22 million per year. His contract expires on 31 December 2020.
Five of the richest footballers in the world are Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Wayne Rooney. Based on 2020 figures, the five have a combined net worth of $1.46 billion. Although the primary source of income for the wealthiest soccer players is wages from clubs, a majority make more money from endorsement deals and business interests.
Yen.com.gh has created a list of the wealthiest soccer players in Ghana. Football is one of the most popular sports in the country and many Ghanaians have been signed by clubs abroad due to their talent.
According to the list, Michael Essien is the richest Ghanaian footballer with a net worth of $35 million. Others include Asamoah Gyan who has a net worth of $23 million and Andre Ayew who is worth $20 million.