In today’s world, soccer is filled with money. Much like popular sports on this side of the pond, such as the NFL and the NBA, soccer players are paid handsomely for their performances. In particular, the game’s biggest and best stars receive impressive sums, as highlighted by a recent Forbes report.
Cristiano Ronaldo Tops the List With an Estimated $260 Million Income
A world-famous talent, Cristiano Ronaldo is officially the sport’s highest earner. With an estimated income of $260 million, the Portuguese star is back at the top of the pile after securing a lucrative move to Saudi Pro League team Al-Nassr worth an estimated $200 million per year.
His former club, Real Madrid, is priced at odds of 11/2 to win the current campaign according to the outright markets for Champions League bets. Whilst there, he helped to achieve this incredible feat a whopping four times. As we all know, his fortunes weren’t so hot at Manchester United following his return to the club in 2021. So naturally, Ronaldo turned away from the world’s biggest competitions and the opportunity to play in the best league in the world. He clearly couldn’t resist the money on offer following his well-documented fallout at Manchester United.
A much-loved professional who has rediscovered the form he lost in England, Ronaldo might not be featured on iconic shows like Match of the Day or included in useful resources like these Champions League tips anymore, but he is still a massive personality in the sport. So much so, in fact, that huge sponsorship deals with the likes of Nike, Clear, and Herbalife have also contributed to his huge income.
Lionel Messi is in Second With Earnings of $135 Million
Many fans of the beautiful game believe that Lionel Messi is the best player to have ever played it. The Argentinian maestro has turned it on at the highest level for well over a decade and he is used to challenging for the biggest prizes. Over the years, he has certainly been a joy to watch.
Messi has left competing at the top behind, though, and opted for a move to David Beckham’s American side Inter Miami CF on a contract reportedly worth $65 million. With off-field deals being worth an estimated $70 million, coupled with an Instagram following of 495 million, Messi is raking it in.
Neymar Jr Has $112 Million To His Name
Immediately below the rankings of Ronaldo and Messi is the Brazilian trickster, Neymar. Like Ronaldo, the former Barcelona forward departed Paris Saint-Germain at the same time as Lionel Messi to seal a move to the big-spending Saudi Pro League.
Now aged 31, Al Hilal’s marquee addition joined the club for a staggering $100 million per year, while his income off the pitch is worth around $32 million thanks to big deals with iconic brands like Red Bull and Puma.
Former Real Madrid hero Karim Benzema has an Income of $106 Million
Another player who evidently couldn’t turn down the money on offer in Saudi Arabia, Karim Benzema is also on the list with a reported income of $106 million. Aged 35, the Al-Ittihad goal machine accepted arguably his last chance of receiving a massive payday after spending 14 years with Spanish giants Real Madrid and winning it all.
The $100 million a year Benzema is being paid in Saudi Arabia is supplemented by some notable deals with major brands like Adidas, while the French striker also has a following of 76 million on Instagram.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah Pulled in $53 Million
Arguably the best player in the Premier League at the moment, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has $53 million to his name. The highest-paid Arab athlete in the world, the “Egyptian King” is paid well in England, while he has also established off-field partnerships with the likes of Gucci and Pepsi.
Liverpool’s all-time leading goalscorer in the Premier League has also been tipped for a move to the Saudi Pro League eventually, with his earnings likely to at least double in the process.
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