Top 10 Richest Soccer Players
Who are the richest soccer players?
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $60 million and endorsements worth $40 million, he has a total of $105 million earnings. Ronaldo joined the Italian club Juventus in 2018 after playing Real Madrid for nine years. His four-year deal with Juventus is worth $64 million annually. Ronaldo is also known for his large social media presence, as he is the most followed athlete on Instagram with over 200 million followers. Some of Ronaldo's major sponsors include Nike, Unilever, Altice, and Herbalife.
2. Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the second highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $72 million and endorsements worth $25 million, he has a total of $104 million earnings. Messi plays for the Spanish club F.C. Barcelona and his current contract of 2020-21 will pay him around $80 million annually. He has scored 438 goals and 36 hat tricks for his club, which is La Liga and club record. Some of Messi's major sponsors include Adidas, Gatorade, Pepsi, and Huawei. His deal with Adidas is a lifelong deal.
Neymar is the third highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $70.5 million and endorsements worth $32 million, he has a total of $95.5 million earnings. Neymar plays for Paris Saint-Germain up until 2022 with a total salary worth of $350 million. His transfer from F.C. Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain is the most expensive club transfer which is valued at $263 million. Some of Neymar's major sponsors include Nike, Beats Electronics, Gillette, Red Bull, and Mastercard. In 2016, Nike's Jordan Brand signed Neymar as their first soccer ambassador.
4. Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah is the fourth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $23.1 million and endorsements worth $12 million, he has a total of $35.1 million earnings. In July 2018, Salah signed a five-year contract with Liverpool. He was Liverpool's top goal scorer in both the Champions League and Premier League for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Some of his major sponsors include Adidas, DHL International, Electronic Arts, and ExxonMobil. Salah is the face of Adidas' 1970s-born Adicolor of sportswear.
5. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe is the fifth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $20.8 million and endorsements worth $13 million, he has a total of $33.8 million earnings. Mbappe has a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain until 2022 with a $20 million annual salary. During the 2018 World Cup, he was the youngest French player to score during the World Cup and second-youngest player to score during the World Cup finals. Some of his major sponsors include Nike and Hublot. In December 2019, Nike released Mbappe's first Mercurial shoe. And in 2018, Mbappe became the first active player global ambassador for Hublot.
6. Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta is the sixth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $26.6 million and endorsements worth $3 million, he has a total of $29.6 million earnings. Iniesta played for F.C. Barcelona for 22 years and was captain for 3 of those years. In 2018, he joined Japan's Vissel Kobe squad on a three-year deal. In the 2010 World Cup, he scored the goal that won Spain the title. Some of his major sponsors include Asics and Mikakus. After a two-decade deal with Nike, he signed a multi-year deal with Asics.
7. Mesut Ozil
Mesut Ozil is the seventh highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $23.2 million and endorsements worth $5.5 million, he has a total of $28.7 million earnings. Ozil plays for Arsenal as a midfielder and his contract will last until 2021. He has played for Arsenal since 2013 and before that played for Real Madrid. Although he played for the German national soccer team, Ozil retired from the team in 2018. Some of his major sponsors include Adidas, Beats Electronics, and Mercedes-Benz.
8. Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is the eighth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $23 million and endorsements worth $5.5 million, he has a total of $28.5 million earnings. After playing for Juventus for 4 years, Pogba transferred back to Manchester United in 2016 for a five-year contract. His transfer fee cost $120 million. Pogba plays as a midfielder. Some of his major sponsors include Pepsi and Adidas. He is known for promoting charities to clean oceans and end racism. He also has his foundation which focuses on providing clean drinking water to communities in Africa.
Oscar is the ninth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $25.8 million and endorsements worth $1.7 million, he has a total of $27.5 million earnings. Oscar played for Chelsea for five years and won 2 Premier League titles with the club. In 2017, he made a move to the Chinese Super League and the club Shanghai SIPG. He plays as a midfielder and he quadrupled his weekly pay since transferring. Some of his major sponsors include Adidas.
10. Antoine Griezmann
Antoine Griezmann is the tenth highest-paid soccer player as of 2020. With a salary/winnings of $21.2 million and endorsements worth $5.5 million, he has a total of $26.7 million earnings. After playing for Atletico Madrid for five years, he made a transfer to F.C. Barcelona in July 2019. He plays as a forward. During the 2018 World Cup, Griezmann helped France score and set up a total of 14 goals. Some of Griezmann's long time sponsors include Puma and Huawei.
Why is Ronaldo the richest soccer player?
Despite earning $64 million annually in comparison to Messi who earns $72 million, Ronaldo's endorsements are valued highly. His endorsements are worth $40 million. Not only that, but he also has a large social media presence on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter which helps build his brand. Ronaldo also has his own CR7 line which sells eyewear, footwear, underwear, and more. His CR7 brand helps increase his earnings as well.
What is the difference between salary and endorsements?
An annual salary is paid to the soccer player by their designated club. Most of them sign a contract for a few years (eg. 3 or 5 years) and it will be stated how much they will make every year. Contracts may be renewed or often what happens is another club may offer a better deal, so players may transfer. Endorsements are paid by external companies who pay the players to promote their brands.
Why do companies pay soccer players for sponsorships?
Major companies pay soccer players for endorsements/sponsorships because of the weight the player's names carry. Soccer is a world-renowned sport and people everywhere are watching and idolizing these players. When companies pay the players to become the face of their products and promote them, this prompts their fans to buy these items as well. Fans are easily influenced by their favorite players and companies monetize on that.
What are some of the largest endorsement deals with soccer players?
One of the biggest endorsement deals is Cristiano Ronaldo's lifetime deal with Nike. This deal is worth approximately $1 billion, which might make him the richest Nike sponsored athlete. Their endorsement deal started in 2003. The second biggest endorsement deal in soccer is between Lionel Messi and Adidas. They also have a lifetime deal which began in 2006. He is said to make an estimated $12 million per year from their deal.