The Highest-Paid Soccer Player 2024: See How Much They Make

Who’s the world’s highestpaid soccer playerWe’ve got the answers to those questions and many more, including a breakdown of some of the most popular soccer leagues. Let’s see which players secured the most lucrative contracts around.

Soccer Player with the Biggest Contracts in 2024 (Top Ten Earners)

highest paid soccer player

With somewhere between 3-4 billion fans, soccer is the most popular sport globally, boasting a rich history full of memorable moments and surprising facts, as well as featuring its own rich vocabulary of terms. And with popularity comes rewards. Soccer players make millions, but which ones are the best? Take a look at the top 5:

1. Lionel Messi, PSG – $130 million


Messi has climbed back to the top of the leaderboard after getting knocked off his perch last year by Cristiano Ronaldo. His move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) might’ve been controversial, as was the subsequent terrible performance of the team, but so far 2022 has been good to Messi.

Right now, Messi has the highest salary for a soccer player: $75 million, including base salary and bonuses. He gets an extra $55 million from his sponsors: Pepsi, Adidas, Budweiser, and Hard Rock International. Not only is Messi the most-paid soccer player around, but he also sits on top of the list of highest-paid athletes across all sports.

Ronaldo and Messi have been fighting for the best player award in soccer throughout their careers, and the salary battle is also very tight.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United – $115 million


Cristiano Ronaldo took the crown when he became the highestpaid soccer player in 2021. Both he and Messi moved to new clubs over the summer, but Ronaldo’s new contract moved him into top spot. Messi later reclaimed that title.

Ronaldo now earns $55 million from endorsements and $60 million from salary and bonuses. He has earned over $1 billion over his career, making him the first soccer player to do so.

3. Neymar Jr., PSG – $95 million


Considered by many as the heir to Ronaldo and Messi, Neymar has always drawn the spotlight. Whether due to his phenomenal skills or due to the antics on and off the field, Neymar is always in the papers. 

In 2022, the third bestpaid soccer player earned $70 million in on-field earnings and $25 million in endorsements.

4. Kylian Mbappe, PSG – $43 million

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Mbappe has been impressing the world of sports ever since he found himself in the spotlight at the age of 17. Winning the World Cup at 19 led him to the highest ranks of soccer stardom. 

He is considered by many to be the future of soccer and, unsurprisingly, he’s one of the top-paid soccer players. Mbappe earns $28 million on-field and $14 million in endorsements.

5.  Gareth Bale, Real Madrid – $41.1 million

(Sports Brief)

Bale has been a big surprise these past few years. A player many considered an expensive benchwarmer thrived once he arrived at Real Madrid, more than warranting his annual salary of $23 million. He has also managed to score several sponsorships from big-name brands like Adidas, which have netted him an extra $6 million in endorsements in 2020.

6. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – $37 million

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The Egyptian King is the fifth most-paid soccer player in the world; after all, winning the Premier League and the Champions League would surely give anyone a bump in pay. Salah’s earnings this year come from $24 million on-field and $13 million in endorsements.

7. Paul Pogba, Manchester United – $34 million

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The Manchester midfielder is one of the biggest hopes in football today. An impressive soccer player and a true humanitarian, Paul Pogba has rightfully climbed onto the top 10 list of the biggest earners in the sport. Pogba is earning $28 million annually playing for the Red Devils, with an additional $6 million coming through Adidas, Activision, and other sponsorships.

8. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – $28.4 million

(Sports Brief)

The 30-year-old Belgian player has been slowly but steadily climbing the ranks of the highest-paid players. Hazard is currently playing for Real Madrid where he scored two La Liga and one Champions League victory. He has been struggling recently with injuries, though, spending most of his games on the bench, but promised his fans that he’ll be back stronger and better than before.

9. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich – $28 million

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The Polish-born soccer star has been a favorite of punters who score big on Ether-based sports betting sites. Lewandowski is most famous for his amazing performance in 2015, when he scored five goals in just nine minutes against Wolfsburg. His top-scoring reputation has earned him a $24 million salary and $4 million in sponsorship deals this year.

10. David De Gea, Manchester United – $27 million

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The 10th highest-paid soccer player in the world guards the net of Manchester United. De Gea is the only goalkeeper among the top 10 on the leaderboard, earning an annual salary of $24 million and an extra $3 million from Adidas and Pepsi endorsements. This star goalie has also launched limited-edition goalkeeping gloves to mark his 100th match under Adidas sponsorship.

The Top Paid Soccer Players Around the World

Now you know who the top earners are globally, but how much do the top players earn in the most popular leagues? 

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! We’ve selected the top earners from England, Spain, Italy, and the MLS.

The Highest-Paid Premier League Players

The Premier League is arguably the most-watched and highest-profile league in the soccer world, so it’s no wonder that so many of the most-paid soccer players play there. Let’s take a look at some of the other high-paid athletes who didn’t make our first list.

1. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – $26.11 million per year


The 2020 Premier League player of the season, Kevin De Bruyne, takes top place on this particular list. 

He has signed a four-year, $26.11 (£20.02) million contract that kicks in from next season. That’s an increase from the $25.06 (£18.2) million a year he previously earned.

2. Jadon Sancho, Manchester United – $22.83 million per year


After impressing at Borussia Dortmund and being linked with United for a couple of years, Sancho finally moved to the Red Devils – the world’s third-richest soccer club – last summer and earned a contract that puts him second on this list.

3. Raphael Varane, Manchester United – $22.18 million per year


It seems like the highestpaid footballers (as they call them over the Atlantic) in the Premier League all play for one of the Manchester teams. 

After four Champions League titles at Real Madrid, Varane decided to change scenery and try out the Premier League. His experience has earned him a massive $22 million contract that ranks him third on this list.

4. Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea – $20.43 million per year


The strapping Belgian striker has been a prolific goalscorer at both club and international level. Indeed, the superstar is Belgium’s all-time leading goalscorer and was the MVP in Italy’s Serie A in 2020-21. All of that explains why Chelsea bought him back for enough to make him one of the top-paid soccer players in England!

5. Jack Grealish, Manchester City – $18.85 million per year


It seems like the highestpaid footballers (as they call them over the Atlantic) in the Premier League all play in one of the Manchester teams. 

After four Champions League titles at Real Madrid, Varane decided to change scenery and try out the Premier League. His experience has earned him a massive $24 million contract that ranks him fifth.

The Highest-Paid Italian Soccer Players

Who doesn’t love Italy? The food, history, and culture attract many players, so it’s no wonder some of the highest-paid ones relocate to this beautiful country. Let’s take a look at the salaries these players receive.

1. Matthijs de Ligt, Juventus – $8.34 million per year


Juventus is the richest club in Italy and has the country’s highest average soccer player salary, so it’s no surprise that the number 1 player on this list comes from Juventus. 

Matthijs de Ligt might be only 21 years old, but he’s already reached the top with his $8.34 million yearly salary.

2. Christian Eriksen, Inter Milan – $7.86 million per year


The next highestpaid football player per year in Italy, Eriksen, was the most talked-about player at the Euro 2020 tournament, but not for the best of reasons.

Tragically, Eriksen collapsed on the field due to a heart attack. While he’s okay now, nobody can know for sure how seriously he’ll be able to play in the future. 

Eriksen is currently the highest earner at Inter Milan without even playing due to his condition. Even while he was playing, most fans can agree he wasn’t as pivotal to the team’s success as hoped, having a rather up-and-down time at the club.

3. Paulo Dybala, Juventus – $7.65 million per year


With the departure of Ronaldo, Argentine Dybala has once again become the center of Juve’s attack. He is also the owner of the third highest-paid soccer player salary in Italy.

His performances have been up and down over the past few years, but without Ronaldo, many fans are hoping that Dybala will find his former self.

The Argentine’s contract expires in 2022 and the club wants to keep him, so don’t be surprised if he moves up on our list.

4. Aaron Ramsey, Juventus – $7.33 million per year


Another Juve player takes the fourth spot on this list. Former Arsenal man Aaron Ramsey has not yet made the impact the Italian team had hoped for. Being one of Italy’s highest-paid soccer players in 2021 and 2022, his performance should be better.

It’s no wonder he’s no longer part of the coach’s plans and has been linked with a move soon.

5. Adrien Rabiot, Juventus – $7.33 million per year


The fifth highestpaid soccer player in Italy is once again from Juventus. Frencham Rabiot has been a good contributor for the team, but like Ramsey, he hasn’t shene as much as fans and the team would’ve liked. 

In France, he was involved in scandals, including his exit from PSG and refusal to be among the French team’s reserves for the World Cup. Since moving to Italy, he’s stayed out of the spotlight and tried to focus on his team.

The Highest-Paid Soccer Player in Spain

Spain has long been a desired destination for many players. Some of the most famous, rich, and successful teams, such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, come from Spain. 

Read below for the highest earners in the country.

1. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid – $41.1 million per year


After Messi left Barcelona, Bale took the title of the highestpaid soccer player in Spain. 

Bale has been at Real since 2013 but has been hit by injuries throughout that period. When fit, he has regularly shown his speed and technique as part of Real’s lethal BBC (Benzema, Bale, Cristiano) attack.

He’s been in and out of the team over the past few seasons, and Real has tried to offload him without luck. His contract is up at the end of the season, and it will be a miracle if it’s renewed.

2. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – $28.4 million per year

(Sports Brief)

When Eden Hazard came to Real Madrid, he was thought to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s successor as the team’s star. 

That’s why the club made him one of the top-paid soccer players in the world. Unfortunately, multiple injuries have prevented Hazard from showcasing his talents so far.

3. Toni Kroos, Real Madrid – $26.3 million per year

(Sports Brief)

A former Bayern player and current Real Madrid midfielder, Kroos is one of the highestpaid soccer players in La Liga. The team recently extended his contract and gave him a pay rise to a whopping $26.3 million a year.

4. Antoine Griezmann, Atletico Madrid – $24.3 million per year

(Give me Sport)

Griezmann made a shock transfer deadline day move back to his former club. The turmoil at Barcelona and the fans never accepting him were leading causes. 

The Frenchman even took a substantial pay cut to move back to Atletico. Even with that, he’s still the team’s bestpaid soccer player. So far, it’s been a slow start, but fans are hoping he’ll rediscover his form from his first stint with the club.

5. Frenkie De Jong, FC Barcelona – $24.2 million per year

(Sports Brief)

Replacing Suarez on this list, FC Barcelona’s midfielder is the only highestpaid soccer player from Barca to make it onto the top five of our list. The Netherlands-born player is a young hope for Spanish football, but he has been vocal about transferring away from Barcelona. In fact, his transfer to Manchester United is inevitable, as the British club has offered him a massive $86.5 bonus if he were to switch clubs.

How does the highest-paid MLS soccer player compare to Europe?

So, how does the MLS compare to European soccer in terms of salary? 

Unlike Europe, the MLS has a pay scale and structure set by the league. In addition, teams rely heavily on recruitment from the NCAA and college players.

Read below to find out the top earners:

1. Xherdan Shaqiri, Chicago Fire – $8.1 million per year


The 2022 season started off beautifully for the Chicago midfielder. After the team paid a $7.5 million transfer fee and guaranteed an $8.1 million annual salary, Shaqiri became the highest-paid soccer player in America.

2. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Los Angeles Galaxy – $6 million per year


The Mexican international who plays in Los Angeles takes the second spot on this list. All of his $6 million earnings come directly from his salary.

3. Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami – $5.8 million per year


Newcomer Inter Miami has added some star players to its roster, arguably the most famous among them being Gonzalo Higuain. 

The Argentine striker is the third highestpaid soccer player in the USA, with earnings of $5.8 million in 2022, $5.1 million of which is his salary.

4. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC – $4.7 million per year


It’s now time to go across the border into Canada to find the fourth highestpaid professional soccer player in the MLS. The Spanish midfielder makes $4.7 million per year, with $3.8 million of that coming in base salary.

5. Josmer Volmy “Jozy” Altidore, New England Revolution – $4.3 million per year


It’s now time to go across the border into Canada to find the fourth highestpaid professional soccer player in the MLS. The Spanish midfielder makes $4.7 million per year, with $3.8 million of that coming in base salary.


Who is the highest-paid US soccer player?

Chicago Fire player Xherdan Shaqiri is the highest-paid US player. Shaqiri earns $8.1 million per year.

Who was the highest-paid soccer player in 2020?

Leo Messi was the highest-paid soccer player in 2020, with earnings of $130 million, including $55 million in endorsements and $75 million in salary and bonuses.

How much do soccer players make?

Average compensation varies significantly between the different leagues around the world.

The English Premier League has the highest average annual salary at $3.97 million per year, followed by Spanish La Liga, with $2.55 million. Italy’s Serie A pays average salaries of $2.33 million per year, while in Germany’s Bundesliga it’s $1.98 million.

In comparison, the MLS has an average salary of $411,000 per year.

Who is the highest-paid female soccer player?

Unfortunately, women’s soccer is very underpaid compared to men’s.

The latest data shows that USWNT star Carli Lloyd is the highest-paid women’s soccer player, with an annual salary of $518,000. That’s 145 times lower than Leo Messi’s salary (excluding sponsorships).

Even though the US women’s national team has won multiple world and Olympic titles and is a dominant force in the sport, they are paid much less than their male counterparts and currently are in a fierce lawsuit over equal pay.

Let’s hope we see a change.

Who is the highest-paid Mexican soccer player?

Raul Jimenez, who plays in the English Premier League for the Wolverhampton Wanderers, is the highest-paid Mexican player, with a yearly salary of $2.6 million.

Who is the highest-paid soccer player in South Africa?

Keagan Dolly from the Kaizer Chiefs is the highest-paid player in South Africa.

He recently signed a new contract worth around $93,000 per month, or $1.1 million a year (not including bonuses) based on exchange rates at the time of writing.

How much does Cristiano Ronaldo get in salary?

His total annual earnings are $115 million, including $55 million in endorsements and a total of $60 million in on-field earnings (salary plus bonuses and incentives).

Leo Messi earns $130 million per year; he has overtaken Ronaldo as the highest-paid soccer player right now.