Cristiano Ronaldo And 7 Of The World’s Highest-paid Soccer Players
Soccer is the world’s sport, and its star players are some of the richest athletes. David Beckham, for example, is still one of the sport’s wealthiest and most recognizable faces — even though he retired in 2013.
Soccer has yet to reach the same level of fandom in the U.S. that it enjoys elsewhere, which might explain why American players rarely receive huge paydays. Instead, soccer’s highest-paid athletes compete on European soil for some of the top clubs in the world.
France took home the 2018 World Cup, the second time in the country’s history, with their 4-2 win against Croatia on July 15. If you want to know which players have succeeded on and off the field, click through to read about how the best soccer players have made their fortunes.
Cristiano Ronaldo Net Worth: $400M
Forbes crowned Cristiano Ronaldo with the title of highest-paid athlete of 2017 — earning more than even the wealthiest U.S. athletes like Lebron James. In 2017, Ronaldo pulled in $93 million overall, with $58 million in earnings and $35 million in endorsement contracts.
According to Forbes, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid contract brings in more than $50 million annually in salary and bonuses. Ronaldo has been dubbed a “human billboard” because of his numerous endorsement deals, which include Nike and Tag Heuer, as well as his own line of underwear, shoes, and fragrance. He also has a line of hotels.
A five-time winner of the Ballon d’Or — an annual award given to the best player in the world — Ronaldo’s net worth is $400 million.
Lionel Messi Net Worth: $340M
Lionel Messi’s net worth is a staggering $340 million. The only current athletes who earn more are Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James, according to Forbes’ 2017 list of the highest-paid athletes. Messi earned $80 million in 2017. That sum breaks down to $53 million in salary — along with the many bonuses his contract affords him — and $27 million from endorsement deals, which include his “lifetime” deal with Adidas that’s worth more than $10 million per year. His other huge sports endorsement deals include contracts with Gatorade, Huawei, and Tata Motors.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Net Worth: $190M
Swedish soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic now plays stateside in the MLS with the L.A. Galaxy. Before joining the team in March 2018, Ibrahimovic played for Manchester United and reportedly took a 95 percent pay cut to play in Los Angeles, according to Sports Illustrated. As of 2017, Ibrahimovic was making $32 million a year, with $27 million from salary and winnings and an additional $5 million from endorsements. His high earnings landed him the No. 30 spot on Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes of 2017.
He likely won’t make the Forbes list in 2018, as his earnings have reportedly been cut to $1.4 million due to MLS wage limits, according to Sports Illustrated.
Wayne Rooney: $145M
Wayne Rooney is the all-time leading scorer for Manchester United and the English national team, and he’s been one of the top 10 highest-earning soccer players every year for the last decade, according to Forbes. In 2017, he made $17.6 million in salary and winnings, and brought in an additional $6 million in endorsements, earning him the No. 70 spot on Forbes’ list of highest-paid athletes for the year.
Rooney is rumored to be joining the MLS club D.C. United, pending negotiations, The Washington Post reported.
Neymar Net Worth: $140M
The athlete Forbes called “more marketable than (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior — best known as Neymar Jr. or simply Neymar — is the only man in the world of soccer who earns more off the field than he does on it. With his 2017 earnings, he was roughly pulling in $37 million a year, $22 million of which came from corporate endorsements that include Nike, Gillette, Panasonic and Beats by Dre. Renowned for his savvy online presence, Neymar’s official website landed the star forward a Webby award in 2016.
Now with Paris Saint-Germain, he reportedly receives a gross annual salary of $57.5 million, according to a study by France Football, which will likely boost his net worth by the end of 2018.
Gareth Bale Net Worth: $110M
With a net worth of $110 million, Welsh superstar Gareth Bale plays forward for Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Bale earns $23 million annually from salary, plus more from his sponsorship deals with Adidas, Foot Locker, and Nissan. In 2017, he made an impressive $34 million, making him the 24th-highest-paid athlete of 2017, according to Forbes.
Bale has received numerous accolades throughout his career, including two PFA Players’ Player of the Year awards (2011 and 2013) and the FWA Footballer of the Year award in 2013.
Eden Hazard Net Worth: $100M
Belgian national Eden Hazard’s contract with Chelsea pays him an annual salary of roughly $16 million through 2020. When his bonuses are included in the equation, he earns $17 million a year in salary.
In the 2016-17 season, Hazard added a Premier League championship to his massive trophy collection. The highly marketable star forward earns $5 million a year off the field thanks to endorsements with Nike, Topps and Lotus Bakeries.
All net worth figures are according to Celebrity Net Worth and all salary figures are according to Forbes unless otherwise noted.