Football is among the most popular sports nowadays. Players will engage head-on in quick-paced matches as they strive to score goals in neck-breaking speeds. Millions of players globally play soccer. Those who participate in the big leagues have become celebrities, with massive fan bases. As well, they’re able to secure lucrative sponsorship deals. Also noteworthy, performing well nets them excellent bonuses alongside their handsome salaries.
But over and over again, we’ve seen how crazy professional team owners can be. Often, we associate such behavior with an affinity for being fined for always questioning the league. But, truth be told, a nicer way to calculate these individuals’ sanity would be to consider the ungodly amount of cash they often pay their players. That’s just ludicrous. When it comes to football, obscene salaries are one part of the craziness.
Soccer players are paid handsomely for their services, on and off the ground. This fact will indeed set in once you see the numbers. Our eyes are, in fact, wide open. We compile this list of the highest paid footballers. We’ve looked through various team filings. Also, we’ve spoken with several player’s agents, commercial sponsors, and talent agencies in Europe and the U.S. These figures include salaries, endorsements, and bonuses. They’re exclusive of transfer fees.
Are Footballers worth Such Pennies?
We concur with the fact that teams stupendously overpay footballers, especially top-flight players. Most people feel that soccer players’ pay levels seem overblowing. Often, they throw the word ‘gratuitous’. There are several facts which don’t help the situation. Firstly, most footballers are young and not particularly well-behaved. As well, they seem to have little to offer the society; leave alone the ability to kick the ball.
But, the talk of controlling these spiraling wages of soccer players has been ongoing for quite some time now. Several surveys assert that 80% of fans believe that player salaries should be cut or capped. In fact, some players have voiced their support for the control of wages. But, as revenues continue increasing, soccer stars will keep earning extremely high wages. That’s an undeniable fact. From the economic viewpoint, the players well deserve these salaries. But, from a moral perspective, it might be subjective.
Paying Players on their Productivity
Nowadays, it’s extremely hard to break down contracts. First, it’s difficult to measure the productivity of players regarding their contribution to the team’s overall success. Why’s that so? It’s because football’s a team sport. Also, the events of a soccer match are extremely unpredictable. As well, the productivity and usefulness of a player are sometimes tough to notice.
For instance, some players don’t score as much as Messi does but contribute a significant part to the team’s success. In fact, to make such theoretical payment real and fair, there’re hundreds of variables worth considering. Such would include tackles, completed passes, etc. But, the current technique of paying via contracts would be more reliable. The club pays for a player’s potential greatness for a particular time, and on advance.
But, there’s something like performance-based pay packets. As such, players are not paid the full amount. Part of their payment is paid. Then, the remaining is paid depending on some factors such as the number of appearances throughout the season, goals scored (for strikers), clean sheets (for goalkeepers or defenders, and so on.
In the case of image rights, a club will then pay the player(s) a particular portion of the sponsorship money. That’s if the sponsor pays some additional money to the club(s) for having a particular player(s) in the squad.
There are also sell-on fees. A club might opt to sell a player(s) and as a result, make a profit. Then, the player will receive a certain percentage of that profit as specified in the contract.
Without further ado, here are the ten highest-paid football players:
10. Eden Hazard – $22 Million
In January 2015, Eden Michael signed a 5-year deal with Chelsea. In turn, that guarantees him a lucrative amount of cash before the contract expires. Besides, this midfielder has been able to secure a deal with the Chinese Sports Platform, Sina Sports. There, he’ll share stories about Chelsea. Also, Eden will share his personal tales about his football experiences.
As well, he boasts various other, yet recent sponsorship deals. For instance, there’s Lotus Bakeries, where he’ll be promoting their Biscoff biscuits. Also, he has been able to secure a deal with the trading card manufacturer, Topps, in the Match-Attax card game. Such sponsorships and endorsements are believed to add Hazard an income of around $4 million.
9. Luis Suarez – $23 Million
He’s a controversial Uruguayan striker. In particular, he commands a salary of an astonishing $18 million. In fact, he has contributed a lot towards FC Barcelona amassing a record-breaking 180 goals in 2015. Among that, Luis Suarez scored an excellent 51 goals. That’s along other 22 assists. He has made appearances in advertisements of Pepsi, the soft drink giant, as well as Beko, an electronics brand. Last March, he was also spotted wearing Adidas footwear that was unreleased. Suarez’s contract lasts up to 2019. Reportedly, he receives a weekly salary of a lucrative $290,000.
8. Sergio Aguero – $24.9 Million
He’s a player in the Argentina National Football Team. Also, he plays for the Manchester City Club in England. Sergio ‘Kun’ Aguero has scored over 100 goals in the Premier League alone. As such, that earns him the recognition as the second-fastest player to attain such an impressing number of goals after just 147 games. Meanwhile, the first who scored 100 goals the fastest was Alan Shearer, who attained that in just 124 games.
Sergio’s long term sponsor is PUMA. As well, he had appeared in several Pepsi advertisements. Sergio Aguero pockets an exclusive salary of $17 million. Also, his endorsements rake in more or less than $7 million. But overall, Forbes ranks Aguero as the 45th highest-paid athlete throughout the world.
7. Radamel Falcao – $25.9 Million
He’s an AS Monaco’s striker. He’s set to make a return to his club for this 2016/2017 season. Chelsea just recently released him. That was due to his very disappointing performance. Also, many injuries plagued his time with Chelsea. Once, Radamel was among the best strikers in football. That was before acquiring a grievous injury as 2014 ended.
That injury made him miss out on the World Cup. Also, it somewhat changed his form. His salary reaches an astounding $21.9 million. Another $4 million from endorsement deals augments that salary. He has struck deals with various brands like PUMA.
6. Wayne Rooney – $26 Million
He’s both the captain and forward of two football clubs. Still, Wayne Rooney has an ongoing contract with Manchester United. That contract’s set to end in 2019. It’s specifically worth $105 million. Also, Rooney’s career is slated for a 5-book autobiography, courtesy of HarperCollins, since 2006. It runs for nearly up to 12 years. In turn, that added an excellent $9 million advance, with royalties to Wayne’s pocket.
Most people regard that deal with the publisher as among the largest deals which involve sports books ever in publishing history. Also, Rooney has signed with multiple popular brands, including Nike. In fact, he has appeared in numerous advertisements of this footwear giant.
5. Gareth Bale – $34 Million
He’s a Real Madrid Winger. Gareth Bale has been the dominating force everyone had hoped he’d be. That’s especially so when he joined Real Madrid. The mentioned team spent a considerable, ridiculous amount of cash. They were successful at bringing him to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium. Most people praise him for his top skills on the pitch.
Gareth Bale is an explosive player who comes up with crucial goals when his team needs them the most. In fact, he’s among the British players with the highest scores in the entire La Liga’s history. In turn, that has enabled him to earn quite some green. Concerning salary and bonuses, Gareth made $24 million in 2015.
As well, he was able to pull another $10 million. That was a result of endorsement deals with companies like Adidas, Sony XPreria, and BT Sport. In particular, he’s in the midst of his renewed 6-year contract with Adidas. Besides, he was enlisted by Ziptel, an Australian Telecommunications Company, to promote that app on social media. Also, Gareth Bale has over 42 million followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Thanks to the total haul of an astounding $34 million in 2015, Gareth Bale is the 5th highest paid footballer in the world.
4. Neymar Jr. da Silva Santos – $36 Million
The Barcelona Phenom, Neymar, has excellent skills on the field. As well, he brings the goods on the Internet. In fact, he’s the only player pulling in more dough from off-the-pitch endeavors than from the salary and bonuses. Consider that he got paid just $14 million from Barcelona in 2015. That, of course, says something. Already, he’s earning critical acclaim from the media and fans. That’s due to his excellent abilities and exclusive accomplishments.
He’s an incredibly marketable athlete. In fact, he’s among the most famous athletes on the global scale. Besides, his website recently won the People’s Voice Award. That’s in the Webby Awards Sports Sites’ category. Both this excellent football skills and online presence attract lots of endorsement deals from various brands.
He has 12 endorsement deals to boast about. That includes relationships with brands like Clear, Rexona, Nike, and Panasonic. As such, the money is never far behind. From such endorsement deals, he earned a cool $22 million in 2015 alone. That’s just good enough for Neymar Jr. to scoop the fourth position on this list.
3. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – $37 Million
His time with Paris Saint-Germain may have come to an end. He was a forward for the PSG FC in the 2015-2016 season. But, this sensational striker continues being among the most gifted scorers in the world. In fact, he’s Sweden’s best goalscorer. Of course, we’re all aware of what happens when football players score on a regular basis. They make fantastic loads of cash.
His efforts have made him earn the Guldbollen Award, which is granted to the best Swedish Player. Concerning endorsement deals, Ibrahimovic made a cool $7 million last year. That’s thanks to deals with firms like Volvo and Nike. In particular, he signed an exclusive deal with Nike which features $2.8 million. That deal will last till 2019.
As well, he’s also the ambassador of Vitamin Well, a Swedish beverage firm. Now, he has been able to launch his brew known as Vitamin Well Upgrade. Also, he earned a whopping $30 million from bonuses and his salary. With the $37 million haul, this 34-year-old narrowly cracked the topmost three of this prestigious list. But, finding a way into the topmost two might be trickier for him.
2. Lionel Messi – $77 Million
Lionel Messi scored an exceptional 48 goals in 2015. He’s just among the best football players. His abilities on the pitch, the numerous titles and awards bagged back that up. He has led his club, FC Barcelona, to multiple glorious victories. In fact, he contributed significantly to Barcelona securing five different trophies.
Messi also collected a record-setting 5th Ballon d’Or. That named him as the world’s best football player. Oh! That also earned him some serious coin. This magician was able to pull an exceptional $26 million right off the field. That’s thanks to endorsement deals with various considerable names like EA Sports, Lays, Adidas, and Gatorade. Others include Samsung, Electronic Arts, Turkish Airlines, as well as many others which drift.
In addition to that, Lionel tore it up at the pitch in multiple ways. That was able to bring him a lucrative $51 million in bonuses and salary money. Yes, we concur that he might be second on this list. But, there’s nothing sad about the $77 million. We’d take some of the loot off his plate if he’d cry about the 2nd position.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – $82 Million
Anyone could obviously see this coming. This Real Madrid superstar is much more than a goal-scoring machine. Also, Cristiano is an unstoppable brand with sick moves – all by himself. On the field alone, Cristiano Ronaldo earned an exceptional $53 million for his excellent play. Also, he was able to make a sweet $29 million, regarding endorsement money. That’s thanks to companies like Herbalife, Nike, Tag Heuer, and Clear, among several others.
In fact, CR7’s name is a brand by its own. It has been able to attract numerous handsome deals. Such include the $21.7 million per year deal with the famous Nike for 5 years. Besides, there’s his appointment as an ambassador of online CFD-trading service XTrade. He’s the globe’s highest paid player. Besides, he has over 200 million followers on social media.
We’d compare him to a human billboard. His scent, shirt, and underwear are by his namesake brand. Additionally, his hair is by the Clear Brand. His shoes tend to alternate between his namesake brand and Nike. His watch is by Tag Heuer. The suit is by Sacoor Brothers while his abs are by the Six-pad Training Gear. Also, his headphones are by Monster. Meanwhile, the rest of CR7’s body is by Herbalife.
Wrapping up the List
Many believe Cristiano Ronaldo as Messi’s rival. In fact, it’s the best rivalry in almost all sports. Both players have accolades and excellent performances to prove their worth. Let’s put aside that rivalry. The real comparison comes in how Ronaldo and Messi stack up against everyone else financial-wise.
Sure, these two players earn almost three or four times the average player on the above list. But, they score three or four times as many goals. Also, they set up their teammates to score twice or thrice as many times. Other highly-paid football players include Fernando Torres and Yaya Toure.
Football game has massive follow-ship across the globe. For example, the World Cup, which comes every four years, attracts the largest global audience in the television world. It’s thus not a surprise that this sport has extremely well-paid players. Some of the players above, in fact, are among the richest people on the globe.