11 Interesting Facts On How Much Soccer Players Make

Soccer is a global sport played by highly trained professional athletes. As one of the most famous sports on the planet, it is unsurprising that athletes earn a vast amount of money.

Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and Neymar are some of the most profitable names in sports, earning millions in salaries and endorsements.

Let’s explore the facts to see how these soccer players make money and by how much!

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Highlights of the Article

  • On average, English Premier League players earn $3-$5 million in salaries in 2021.
  • Football players in England make around $3.9 million yearly.
  • With a $200 annual million+ income, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest-paid football player.
  • In the US, soccer players earn approximately $386,000 in salaries.
  • Toronto FC is the highest-paying soccer team in the US, with a $928,477 average annual salary.
  • Ronaldo earns around $45 million in endorsements, the highest.
  • Neymar’s deal with Puma is the most expensive single endorsement deal at $23 million annually.

How much do Footballers make? 

how much soccer players make

Professional soccer players earn money through salaries, bonuses and incentives, sign-on fees, and endorsement deals. Most soccer players earn mainly from wages ranging from $2000 to hundreds of thousands per week.

MLS players’ average salary is approximately $312,000 per year. USL players make, on average, around $43,000 a year.

The amount they earn depends on factors like age, player ability, club level, or the average wage bill in their country. In this section, you will determine which league soccer players earn the most.

Statistics on Soccer Player Salary Per League

Each football league has a level of play, style, and salary rate. These leagues are primarily created per country but are open to all players globally, depending on their skills.

Soccer players’ salaries differ vastly. While others earn a couple of thousand weekly, some can make hundreds of thousands, mainly depending on which league and which FC they play for.

Take a look at how much pro soccer players make per league.

1. The English Premier League ranked top in average salaries in 2021.

(Progressive Soccer)

Professional soccer players earn an average of $3 million to $ 5 million annually in the EPL, soccer’s most competitive league globally.

European leagues are among the top-paying institutions. Listed below are the top soccer leagues in Europe, together with their average salary:

  • English Premier League: $3-$5 million
  • Spanish La Liga: $3-$5 million
  • Italian Serie A: $1-$3 million
  • German Bundesliga: $1-$3 million
  • French Ligue 1: $500k-$2 million
  • Major League Soccer (MLS): $345,000

Players earn more or less than these figures depending on experience, position, performance, and endorsements.

2. Italian Serie A increased revenue by 23% in 2020-21


Italian Serie A gained the highest percentage growth in revenue among the Big 5 Leagues. The 48% increase in broadcast revenue resulted in €2.3bn in aggregate income, a 23% bump from last year.

Other leagues reported an increase in revenue:

  • Premier League – grew by 8% to €5.5bn
  • Spain’s La Liga  – grew by 6% to €2.9bn
  • Ligue 1 – grew by 1% to €1.6bn

Bundesliga was the only league that reported a decrease in revenue by 6% to €3 B.

The Big Five leagues share 57% of the European football market and have a total revenue of €15.6bn, a 3% growth from the previous year.

3. Major League Soccer entered a 10-year $2.5 billion deal with Apple in 2022

(Front Office Sports)

MLS entered a $250 million annual contract with Apple for the next 10 years. However, this is lower than the initially reported deal of $300 million annually.

With this contract, MLS is shifting to streaming from the traditional broadcast. Initially, the league earned around $90 million in broadcast revenues.

$250 million annual income is a massive bump in revenue. Opportunity costs for letting go of potential future deals in traditional broadcasts and the production costs ($62 million per season) should also be accounted for.

Salary Statistics of Soccer Players Per Country

Average salaries in the top leagues differ significantly worldwide. The rates do not indicate how great the teams are or how famous football is in that country or region.

Football is prevalent In South America. The continent has produced some of the leading players in the world today. However, players in South America earn less compared to players in Europe and the US.

In the following section, you’ll uncover the top-paying countries and teams worldwide.

4. England has the highest average annual salary for soccer players at $3,935,117.

(Sports King)

Europe pays their soccer players the most, with England leading the list, as shown below: 

  1. England – $3,935,117
  2. Spain – $2,896,151
  3. Italy – $1,999,865
  4. Germany – $1,837,613
  5. France – $1,302,347
  6. Russia – $877, 071

Star players in the EPL, England’s first division, earn an average of $4 million yearly. However, others make far less, especially if they’re in a lower division. The same concept applies to other countries.

5. The average salary of soccer players in China is $1,051,603. 

(South China Morning Post, ERI)

Among Asian countries, China has the highest average wage for soccer players, followed by:

  • Japan – $30,088.60
  • Korea – $28,432.36 
  • Saudi Arabia – $25,421.53

Soccer players in Asia earn significantly less, as the sport is less prevalent in Europe. However, with the recent transfer of football stars to Asian Leagues, data shows an increasing trend in soccer players in Asia’s average salaries.

6. Ronaldo is the highest-paid footballer of 2023, with a $200 million salary.

(Square Mile)

With great popularity comes a substantial salary. Approximately 3.5 billion fans worldwide follow soccer, making it the most popular sport.

With this popularity, soccer players can profit from salaries, bonuses, and endorsements.

Listed below are the top 12 highest-paid footballers in 2023.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr) – $200 million/Year
  • Kylian Mbappe (PSG) – $128 million/Year
  • Lionel Messi (PSG) – $120 million/Year
  • Neymar Jr (PSG) – $68.5 million/Year
  • Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – $53 million/Year
  • Erling Haaland (Manchester City) – $39 million/Year
  • Oscar (Shanghai Sipg) – $34 million/Year
  • Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) – $31 million/Year
  • Andres Iniesta (Vissel Kobe) – $ 30 million/Year
  • Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – $29 million/Year
  • David De Gea (Manchester United) – $23 million/Year
  • Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)– $22 million/Year

7. The average salary per player in MLS in the US is $386,668.

(Soccer Prime)

Lorenzo Insigne is the highest-paid soccer player in MLS, with around $14 million, significantly lesser than Europe’s highest-earning footballers.

The top 10 FCs in the US in terms of average salary are the following:

TeamAverage Annual Salary
Toronto FC$928,477
Houston Dynamo$757,700
FC Cincinnati$685,600
Austin FC$619,700
LA Galaxy$581,250
Chicago Fire FC$573,800
St. Louis City SC$458,400
Atlanta United FC$452,500
Portland Timbers$421,250
Los Angeles FC$387,250

8. Son Heung Min of Korea is the Highest paid soccer Asian player.

(Sports Browser, Capology)

Son Heung Min plays for Tottenham Hotspurs, with a weekly salary of £192,000. As a star player in one of the top Football teams worldwide, it’s unsurprising that he is Asia’s highest-paid soccer player. 

Next to Son Heung Min are:

  • Shinji Kagawa (Japan)
  • Tim Cahill (Australia)
  • Maya Yoshida (Japan)
  • Yuto Nagatomo (Japan)
  • Massimo Luongo (Australia)
  • Lee Chung Yong (South Korea)
  • Ki Sung Yueng (South Korea)
  • Ji Dong-Won (South Korea)
  • Park Joo Ho (South Korea).

Soccer Player Salary on Endorsements

Endorsements are one of soccer players’ most significant income sources. Footballers advertise products, such as sportswear, vehicles, tech, lifestyle, consumer, and financial brands.

With their vast fan base, there’s no doubt that companies choose soccer players as their brand endorsers.

Find out the top brand endorsements soccer players have below.

9. Cristiano Ronaldo is the top endorsement earner with $45 million.

(Totals Portal)

Cristiano Ronaldo is the face of luxury brands, including Nike, Louis Vuitton, TAG, and more. His endorsements earn him a staggering $45 million in contracts, almost 20% of his total earnings.

Other players who earn massive sums of money from endorsements are

PlayersSponsorship Earnings/Year
Lionel Messi$34 Million
Neymar Jr$31 Million
Paul Pogba$28 Million
Antoine Griezmann$26.7 Million
Mario Balotelli$24 Million

10. The Neymar x Puma endorsement deal is worth £23 million yearly.

(The Richest)

Ahead of Messi and Ronaldo, Neymar secured the most significant and most expensive single endorsement with Puma. He is earning £23 million a year from this deal.

The most expensive single endorsement deals for footballers are as follows:

PlayerEndorsementDeal Amount
NeymarPuma Deal£23 million
Lionel MessiAdidas Deal£18 million
Christiano RonaldoNike Deal £15 million
Kylian MbappeNike Deal£14 million
Mario BalotelliPuma Deal£5 million
Gareth BaleAdidas Deal£4 million
Antoine GriezmannPuma Deal£3.5 million
Paul PogbaAdidas Deal£3.1 million
Marco VerrattiPuma Deal£2.5 million
Mohamed SalahAdidas Deal£2.5 million

11. With approximately 807 million fans, Ronaldo has the largest fanbase in 2023.

(Foot Goal)

Ronaldo has over 800 million followers across social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). Having the most followers on social media means he has the broadest reach among soccer players.

With over 3 billion fans worldwide, it is unsurprising that companies partner with soccer players. Among the soccer players with the most social media following are:

  • Cristiano Ronaldo – 807 Million
  • Lionel Messi – 539 Million
  • Neymar – 357 Million
  • Ronaldinho – 160 Million
  • David Beckham – 133 Million
  • Karim Benzema – 128 Million
  • Sergio Ramos – 126 Million
  • Kylian Mbappé – 124 Million
  • Zlatan Ibrahimović – 111 Million
  • James Rodriguez – 111 Million

Final Thoughts

Football is the world’s most famous sport. How much each soccer player earns varies, with factors like their club, performance, position, tenure, and influence.

European FCs pay the most. In Asia, football is starting to catch the attention of the market. More and more Asians tune in to soccer, increasing profits for the region’s football industry.

Like other athletes, professional footballers train their whole lives. Their income may be excessive relative to the average. However, what they earn is relative to their sacrifices. 


How much does Premier League earn a year?

Premier League earns from broadcast, matchday, and commercial/sponsorship. In the 2021-22 season, the league earned £5.4 billion.

Who is the youngest billionaire footballer?

Faiq Bolkiah, a member of the Bruneian Royal Family, is the youngest billionaire footballer with a $20 billion net worth.

Who hasn’t won a Premier League?

Among the “Big 6”, Tottenham have never won a single league title during the Premier League era.