At the top end of the game, there are players who earn a king’s ransom from playing soccer, with their ability to earn millions not only in wages and bonuses, but substantial amounts in promotional and sponsorship deals as well.
Exact figures are difficult to ascertain because a lot of the information is not publicly available.
One of the reasons soccer stars especially in Europe have earning so much from the sport is due to the ever increasing sponsorship, competition, hunger for success and many more.
Top 10 highest paid soccer players in the world 2023
1. Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain (US $128 million per year)
23 year old Kylian Mbappé was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid at the end of last season, only to sign a new deal with PSG that made him the richest paid player in the world. It is also reported to have given him a say in the club’s transfer business and even who they could appoint as a manager.
Despite this he is reported to be unhappy at the French club and feels that promises made to him about signing another striker have been broken. He could yet force a move away, with Real the obvious destination, if they can afford him.
Also Read: Most valuable football players in the world
Kylian Mbappé’s decision to remain at the French capital city club makes him the highest paid football player in the world. But of course, the centre forward has not failed to live up to expectations amid the high wages.
2. Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain (US $110 million)
Messi plays alongside Mbappé at PSG currently, although he has never really settled in Paris since he was forced to leave his beloved Barcelona 18 months ago. He is out of contract in the summer, and, although there is talk of a new deal, he is likely to reject it. Barcelona would like to bring him back, but it is unlikely they could afford him. Instead he could head to the MLS for one last pay day with Inter Miami at an even more inflated salary.
Lionel Messi is has brand ambassador to numerous brands globally in different categories. The Argentine is expected to increase in value due to his exploits at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Free agent (US $100 million)
Having engineered his way out of Manchester United, Ronaldo is now a free agent looking for a new club. He has been heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia in January which, at the age of 37 years old, would make him the highest paid player in the world. Although he has refused to commit himself yet, he is running out of viable options.
4. Neymar, PSG (US $87 million)
Having missed out on World Cup success Neymar has to content himself with the fact that his transfer from Barcelona to PSG remains the most expensive of all time. He continues to be very well remunerated by the Ligue 1 side, even if his heart does not always appear to be in it.
Neymar is one of the most popular athlete in the world. He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 following the agreement between the French giants and FC Barcelona for a world football transfer record fee of €222 million euros.
Today, the Brazilian star is brand ambassador to numerous brands globally.
5. Mo Salah, Liverpool (US $53 million)
When Salah signed a new contract with the club at the end of last season, Liverpool fans breathed a huge sigh of relief because the Egyptian has been integral to their success under Jurgen Klopp, having scored 170 goals in 275 games for them.
His new deal made him the highest paid player in the Premier League, and, at a club, known for their financial prudence. Now the onus is on him to lead the team as they enter a transition phase.
Mohamed Salah’s including on the list is no surprise as the Egyptian King is one of the best forwards of his generation. Lacing his boots for Liverpool, he has continued to attract big brands globally.
6. Erling Haaland, Manchester City (US $39 million)
Haaland has made a storming start to his Premier League career after signing from Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season, netting 23 times in 18 games in all competitions so far, and is on track to break all manner of records.
The fee City paid to secure him was a relatively modest £51 million, but his weekly wage is rumoured to be in excess of £500,000 a week.
If he can help them win the Champions League this season, the Premier League club will believe that is money well spent.
Haaland rise to the top of the list is no surprise. By prediction, his expected to climb up the ladder in the future due to his consistency and outstanding performance for Manchester City in the English Premier League. He’s already ranked among the best forwards in world football.
7. Robert Lewandowski, Barcelona (US $35 million)
Although Lewandowski had become the all-time record goalscorer for Bayern Munich, he decided to run down his contract with them at the end of last season. Despite their financial difficulties, Barcelona were determined to sign him and they activated a number of economic levers to secure his services, which included paying him a hefty signing on fee as well as a salary commensurate with his worth.
However, the 34 year old Polish captain is already starting to repay the investment in him with 18 goals from 19 appearances.
The Pole has garnered numerous deals whilst in Germany, but have attracted more since he arrived FC Barcelona.
8. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid (US $31 million)
Real Madrid almost certainly do not consider that Eden Hazard is worth the money they agreed when they signed him from Chelsea in 2019 for a fee well in excess of US $100 million. A combination of injuries and loss of form means that the 31 year old has never been able to replicate the level of performances in Spain that he showed for the Premier League club.
He remains under contract until 2024, but they would dearly love to get rid of him before then, with suggestions that they may look to sell him back to Chelsea in a cut-price deal.
Hazard was tipped to be at the highest level of world football due to his exploits at Chelsea. However, his struggles at Real Madrid did affect this dream.
9. Kevin de Bruyne, Manchester City (US $29 million)
De Bruyne was the highest paid player both at City and in the Premier League generally, until he was overtaken by both Haaland and Salah.
He is under contract until 2025 and seems happy to see out his career with the Premier League club, where he has already won four league titles, an FA Cup, and five League Cups. One of the reasons why City signed Haaland was to have somebody who could finish the chances that de Bruyne creates, and they will be hoping that their combination can finally bring them Champions League success.
Kevin De Bruyne is ranked among one of the best Midfielders of our generation. The Belgian singlehandedly led Manchester City to the Premier League title in the 2022/23 football season and remains key to Pep Guardiola’s EPL dominance.
10. Andrés Iniesta, Vissel Kobe (US $25 million)
Iniesta may be the surprise inclusion on the list, given that it is now four years since he left Barcelona, where he became one of the most decorated players in the history of the game. However, rather than retire, like many of his contemporaries, he headed to Japan instead and signed for Vissel Kobe in exchange for an exorbitant annual salary.
Now 38, Iniesta, who scored the winning goal for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, is under contract until 2024, although that is likely to be his last deal before finally hanging up his boots.
Despite his move away from Europe, his value and network remains at the highest level.
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