Who’s the world’s highest-paid soccer player?
We’ve got the answer to this question and many more. Just keep reading below to find out.
The Highest–Paid Soccer Player in 2021 and the Top Four Earners
With somewhere between 3-4 billion fans, soccer is the most popular sport globally. 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, Barcelona – $130 million
Messi takes the crown for the highest–paid soccer player in 2021. He earns an astonishing $130 million per year, of which $33 million came from endorsements and $97 million from his salary and bonuses (on-field earnings).
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus – $120 million
Ronaldo and Messi have been fighting for the best player award in soccer throughout their careers, both on and off the field.
While Messi has the highest salary for a soccer player, Ronaldo beats him in endorsements, with $50 million. Cristiano’s on-field earnings in 2021 are $70 million.
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 exceptional skills or antics on and off the field, Neymar is always in the papers.
In 2021, the third best–paid soccer player earned $76 million in on-field earnings and $19 million in endorsements.
4. Kylian Mbappe, PSG – $40 million
Mbappe has impressed the world more than once since he turned 17, and at 19, we won the World Cup.
He is considered by many to be the future of soccer. Unsurprisingly, he’s one of the top paid soccer players. Mbappe earns $26 million on-field and $14 million in endorsements.
5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool – $37.5 million
The Egyptian King is the fifth most paid soccer player in the world. Winning the Champions League and then the Premier League will surely give you a bump in pay. Salah’s earnings came from $22.5 million on-field and $15 million in endorsements.
The Highest–Paid Soccer Players Around the World
Now you know who the top earners are, but do you know how much the top players earn in the most popular leagues?
If not, 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 famous league in the soccer world. No wonder so many of the most paid soccer players play there. Take a look at some of the highest salaries.
1. Kevin De Bruyne, Manchester City – $27.57 million per year
The 2020 Premier League player of the season, Kevin De Bruyne, takes the top spot.
He has recently signed a four-year $27.57 (£20.02) million contract that kicks in from the next season. That’s an increase from the $25.06 (£18.2) million he currently earns.
2. David De Gea, Manchester United – $26.85 million per year
When it comes to goalkeepers, De Gea is the most–paid soccer player. As a part of a six-year deal, he earns $26.85 (£19.5) million per year. And that shouldn’t come as a shock, as he plays for the third wealthiest soccer club, Manchester United, known to pay big salaries.
3. Raheem Sterling, Manchester City – $21.48 million per year
Another Manchester City player, Raheem Sterling, earns $21.48 (£15.6) million per year as a part of a four-year contract.
4. Paul Pogba, Manchester United – $20.76 million per year
It seems like the highest–paid footballers (as they call them over the Atlantic) in the Premier League all play in one of the Manchester teams. Pogba missed the third spot by a little over a half of a million and earns $20.76 (£15.08) million per year.
The highest–paid Italian soccer player and the top four earners
Who doesn’t love Italy? The food, history, and culture attract many players, so it’s no wonder some of the highest-paid ones play in the country. Let’s take a look at the salaries these players receive.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus – $36.7 million per year
While Ronaldo earns $120 million per year, this total consists of many parts.
His total on-field earnings, as mentioned, are $70 million, with $36.7 (€31) million coming solely in salary, making him the highest–paid soccer player in Italy.
2. Matthijs de Ligt, Juventus – $9.47 million per year
Juventus is the richest club in Italy and has the highest average soccer player salary.
So, it’s not really a surprise that No.2 on our list plays there.
De Ligt might be only 21 years old, but he’s already reaching the top with his $9.47(€8) million per year salary.
3. Romelu Lukaku, Inter – $8.88 million per year
We have three players at No.3 that could be the owners of the highest-paid soccer player salary in Italy.
We’ll start with Lukaku. Inter spent a lot of money to bring Lukaku to Italy, and that paid off. The big striker was pivotal in Inter’s first title in ten years. That’s why he gets paid the $8.88 (€7.5) million per year.
3. Christian Eriksen, Inter – $8.88 million per year
The next highest–paid football player per year in Italy, Eriksen, was the most talked-about player at the Euro 2020, but not for the best reasons.
He collapsed on the field due to a heart attack. While he’s okay now, we don’t know how seriously he will play in the future.
With Inter, Eriksen earns the same as Lukaku, but most fans agree he wasn’t as pivotal in the team’s success and had a rather up-and-down time in the club.
3. Edin Dzeko, Roma – $8.88 million per year
At 35, Roma’s captain Dzeko is still going strong, and no wonder he’s one of the highest–paid soccer players in 2020 and 2021 in Italy. He’s been excellent for the club, and his age doesn’t seem to affect him, which is great for his wallet.
The highest–paid soccer player in Spain and the top four earners
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. Lionel Messi, Barcelona – $87.88 million per year
Who else could be the highest–paid soccer player ever but Leo Messi?
While he earns about $130 million per year total, $87.88 is solely from salary, not including bonuses. To have arguably the best player on the planet, you need to pay the highest compensation.
2. Eden Hazard, Real Madrid – $28.8 million per year
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. Frenkie de Jong, Barcelona – $25.48 million per year
At 23, Frenkie de Jong is a superstar of the future. He impressed the audience while playing for Ajax in the Netherlands, and Barcelona came looking for him.
He got to play in his favorite childhood club while being one of the highest–paid soccer players. Now that’s a dream come true.
4. Antoine Griezmann, Barcelona – $24.84 million per year
There were high expectations when Griezmann moved to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid.
Reportedly, he even took a pay cut to play for the club. Unfortunately, the Frenchman has not lived up to the expectations and has had a rather sub-par career at Barcelona so far.
How does the highest–paid MLS soccer player compare to Europe? A list of the top earners
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. Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC – $6.3 million per year
Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela takes the crown in the MLS.
The Mexican international is the highest–paid soccer player in America with total compensation of $6.3 million per year, of which $4.5 million is in salary.
2. Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, Los Angeles Galaxy – $6 million per year
Another Mexican international who plays in Los Angeles, Chicharito, takes the No.2 on the list. Unlike Vela, though, his $6 million earnings all come in salary.
3. Gonzalo Higuain, Inter Miami – $5.8 million per year
Last year’s newcomers Inter Miami have added some star players to their roster, and arguably the most famous one is Gonzalo Higuain.
The Argentine striker is the third highest–paid soccer player in the USA with earnings of $5.8 million, with $5.1 million in salary.
4. Alejandro Pozuelo, Toronto FC – $4.7 million per year
We cross the border to Canada and Toronto for the fourth highest–paid professional soccer player in the MLS. The Spanish midfielder makes $4.7 million per year, with $3.8 million in base salary.
Who is the highest–paid US soccer player?
USMNT and Chelsea F.C. player Christian Pulisic is the highest-paid US player. Pulisic earns $11.43 million per year.
We should also mention that his transfer to Chelsea in 2019 was worth $72.96 million, the highest for any US soccer player.
Who was the highest-paid soccer player in 2020?
Like in 2021, Leo Messi was the highest-paid soccer player in 2020, with earnings of $126 million, including $34 million in endorsements and $92 million in salary and bonuses.
How much do soccer players make?
Average compensation varies significantly between different leagues.
The English Premier League has the highest average salary, with $3.97 million per year. It is followed by the Spanish La Liga, with $2.55 million, the Italian Serie A, with $2.33 million, and Germany’s Bundesliga at $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.
Latest data available shows that USWNT star Carli Lloyd is the highest–paid women’s soccer player, with an annual salary of $518,000. That is 272 times lower than Leo Messi’s salary.
Even though the US women’s national team has won multiple world and Olympic titles and is a dominating force in the sport, they are paid much less than their male counterparts.
Currently, they are in a fierce lawsuit over equal pay. Let’s hope we see a change.
Who is the highest–paid soccer player in South Africa?
Samir Nurkovic from the Kaizer Chiefs is the highest-paid player in South Africa.
He recently signed a new contract worth around $801,500 per year (not including bonuses) based on exchange rates at the time of writing.
(The South African)
Who is the highest–paid Mexican soccer player?
Raul Jimenez, who plays in English Premier League’s Wolverhampton Wanderers, is the highest-paid Mexican player with a yearly salary of $8.3 million.
How much does Cristiano Ronaldo get in salary?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary is $36.7 million, but that is just a part of his revenue.
His total earnings are $120 million, including $50 million in endorsements and a total of $70 million of on-field earnings (salary plus bonuses and incentives).
How much does Messi make a year?
Leo Messi earns $130 million per year. He is the highest-paid soccer player in the world currently.
His contract recently expired, so we will see what the new one will be. We will see whether he will increase the gap between him and Cristiano Ronaldo or possibly fall a place.
Soccer is the global leader in viewership and popularity among sports. With high interest and viewership come TV and marketing revenues, allowing players to earn high salaries.
Leo Messi, the world’s highest–paid soccer player, earns a staggering $130 million per year. His rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, comes second with earnings of $120 million.
After reading this article, we are sure you are much more knowledgeable about pay in global soccer.