Top 10 richest footballers

It’s no secret that soccer (football) is one of the world’s most lucrative sports; the game’s superstars can earn thousands of dollars in wages every week.


And, when you throw in bonuses, sponsorship, and marketing rights too, then soccer’s biggest names can rake in millions.


Sports cars, designer threads, sprawling mansions, and luxury vacations are just the tip of the iceberg — so it’s no wonder soccer stars’ lifestyles are the envy of many.


But who are the richest footballers in the world?

Let’s find out:

1. Faiq Bolkiah

Pay: $1,000 per week


Total net worth: $20 billion


Other forms of income: royal wealth and inheritance


Club: Leicester City


Nationality: Bruneian


Position: midfielder/winger


Drum roll…yep, the richest soccer player in the world, at the time of writing, is…not Cristiano Ronaldo. Or Lionel Messi.


Unless you’re a dedicated fan of Leicester City, you may never have even heard of reserve team player Bolkiah before.


But, the Brunei captain and billionaire’s net worth reportedly makes him the richest footballer on the planet with the biggest fortune.


The Foxes’ winger-in-waiting is yet to make a first team appearance at the King Power Stadium, so is still on rather modest wages (by soccer player standards).


It’s his royal bloodline, as the son of Jefri Bolkiah, Prince of Brunei, and nephew to the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah, that boosts his income.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Pay: $645,043 per week


Total net worth: $460 million


Other forms of income: sponsorship, CR7 brand, and business ventures


Club: Juventus


Nationality: Portuguese


Position: forward


Juventus superstar Ronaldo is not used to being runner-up, but that’s what he is among our top 10 richest soccer players.


Still, the former Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United forward is the highest paid player in Italy’s Serie A. Not bad.


The three-time Ballon d’Or winner, widely considered to be one of the greatest soccer players of all time, also nets eye-watering amounts through his lucrative CR7 brand, and a $1billion lifetime deal with Nike, as well as business ventures including hotels and a clothing line.


Portugal captain Ronaldo’s riches are currently taking a slight hit, with the prolific attacker having agreed to a wage deferral to help Juve navigate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.


But don’t worry, he still had enough in the coffers to splash out on a limited edition sports car.

3. Lionel Messi

Pay: $646,000 per week


Total net worth: $400 million


Other forms of income: sponsorships and brand revenue


Nationality: Argentinean


Position: forward


It’s no shock that marketable Messi runs rival Ronaldo close when it comes to personal fortunes.


The pair have been vying for top trophies and awards throughout their career, and the Argentina captain is rewarded handsomely by Barcelona for his talents on the pitch.


Viewed as one of the best players to ever have played the sport, it’s no surprise Messi’s astronomical wages match his club achievements with Barca.


Big money deals with mega-brands such as Adidas and Pepsi ensure Messi takes home a more than respectable wedge.


The Argentine also earned a spot on our list of the richest Olympians ever, thanks to his two goals scored at the 2008 Beijing Games.

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Pay: $390,8971.50 for a six-month contract


Total net worth: $220 million


Other forms of income: sponsorships and brand revenue


Club: AC Milan


Nationality: Swedish


Position: striker/centre forward


Zlatan is the fourth richest football player on the planet. As he’s managed by super-agent Mino Raiola, that’s no surprise.


The towering Swedish striker has worn the shirt of nine different clubs, including LA Galaxy, Manchester United, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Barcelona.


Despite success on the pitch, colorful and outspoken character Ibra has endured mixed results when it comes to his business ventures, which have included a sportswear range, perfume and even his own Android game.


That’s one versatile portfolio.

5. Neymar

Pay: $520,000 per week


Total Net Worth: $185 million


Other Forms of Income: sponsorships, brand revenue, and media work


Club: PSG


Nationality: Brazilian


Position: forward


Rounding up our top five wealthiest footballers is Neymar.


The controversial PSG and Brazil star boasts millions of social media followers, making him a potential gold mine for sponsors.


However, serious off-field issues, including tax evasion and rape allegations (although the latter case was eventually dropped) had been believed to have damaged Neymar’s brand and standing.


But the Brazilian, touted as a generational talent, still enjoys huge popularity in his homeland — despite being involved in a dispute with former clubs Santos and Barcelona, regarding his transfer in 2013, as well as unpaid loyalty bonuses. Ouch.

6. Wayne Rooney

Pay: $1,634 per week


Total net worth: $160 million


Other forms of income: business ventures and sponsorships


Club: Derby County


Nationality: English


Position: forward and midfielder


Former England captain Rooney, who burst onto the Premier League as an excited 16-year-old with Everton in 2002, has enjoyed a long and lucrative career.


Now a player-coach at Championship club Derby County, following a stint with DC United in the MLS, Rooney collects a more reasonable wage than during his prime.


But, as the record goalscorer for both England and former club Manchester United, Rooney pocketed plenty of extra revenue during his golden days — thanks to endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Nokia, Coca-Cola, and Ford.

7. Alexandre Pato

Pay: unknown weekly salary


Total net worth: $145m


Other forms of income: business ventures, endorsements and investments


Club: São Paulo


Nationality: Brazilian


Position: forward


Here’s a blast from the past.


Pato was once an AC Milan (and video game) wonder-kid, and the next big thing from Brazil.


He may have never quite hit the career heights expected of him, but he still managed to wear the prestigious club colours of the Rossoneri, Villarreal and Chelsea.


A big-money move to China with Tianjin Tianhai in 2017, saw the striker net a six-figure salary.


And while many athletes would splurge on sports cars and luxury holidays, it seems like Pato also played it smart with stock and property investments, as well as snapping up restaurants, launching alcohol, fashion and perfume brands, and winning cosmetics endorsement deals.


All this, in addition to a salary from current club São Paulo, apparently brought in a cool $46 million across the last year.

8. Gareth Bale

Pay: $435,925 per week


Total net worth: $125 million


Other forms of income: sponsorships and brand revenue


Club: Real Madrid


Nationality: Welsh


Position: winger


Welsh winger Gareth Bale may not be in favor with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane at the moment, but one thing he won’t need to worry about is cash flow.


Sponsorship deals with Adidas, Lucozade, and BT Sport ensure the former Southampton and Tottenham player rakes in the cash.


The Welshman is no slouch away from soccer either, with business interests including Elevens Bar & Grill, a watering hole in his hometown of Cardiff.


Bale almost became the highest-paid soccer player in the world, when Madrid came close to offloading the La Liga star and his mammoth salary to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning, in 2019.


Now once again linked with a summer switch away from the Bernabeu, it remains to be seen how Bale’s bank balance will be affected by his next career move.

9. Andres Iniesta

Pay: $576,923 per week


Total Net Worth: $120 million


Other Forms of Income: sponsorship and media work


Club: Vissel Kobe


Nationality: Spanish


Position: midfielder


After being a crucial cog and captain for Barcelona, when they were widely dubbed the greatest club side ever, Iniesta joined Japanese team Vissel Kobe in 2018.


At the same time, the former Spain international and World Cup winner also traded a lucrative partnership with Nike for one with Japanese company Asics instead.


The technical midfield playmaker also gains extra income through his winery, which famously produces a vintage called “Minuto 116” — a reference to the time he scored a World Cup-winning goal for La Roja in 2010. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

10. Eden Hazard

Pay: $192,307 per week


Total Net Worth: $100 million


Other Forms of Income: sponsorships and media work


Club: Real Madrid


Nationality: Belgian


Position: attacking midfielder/winger


The most high-profile transfer of the summer in 2019 was Belgian international Hazard moving from Chelsea to Real Madrid for $111 million.


It saw the talented winger increase his weekly earnings, but wearing Madrid’s famous white shirt also made him a more attractive proposition for endorsement deals.


Hazard holds a hefty sponsorship deal with Nike and has also been the face of Belgian-based Lotus Bakeries (we hope he asked for snacks as part of the package).


In 2017, Hazard also invested a stake in owning North American Soccer League franchise San Diego 1904 FC — so he won’t be short of cash any time soon.



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