Football is the world’s most popular sports and with its massive fan base and audience, it provides endless opportunities to football stars to make money. These football stars are adored and looked up to by millions. And it’s not just the footballers who make money, but the companies associated with famous footballers also cash in on opportunities to make money. So here we list down top 10 highest earning footballers based on their salary, bonus and endorsements in the last 12 months.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
Without many surprises, Cristiano Ronaldo is the top earning football player in the world with $93 million in earnings. His earnings include $58 million in salary and bonus and $35 million from endorsements. Ronaldo, who is a four-time Ballon d’Or winner and all-time leading scorer for Real Madrid, is endorsed by leading brands including Nike, Herbalife and Tag Heuer and also has his own fashion line named CR7. In 2016, Nike announced a lifetime deal with Cristiano Ronaldo believed to be worth over $1 billion. And he obviously gets his wage of $455,000 per week and that is like earning $46 every minute!
2. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona & Argentina)
The Argentine star Lionel Messi comes in at 2nd place behind Ronaldo with $80 million in earnings. Messi gets $53 million in form of salary and bonus and another $27 million from sponsorship. Touted as the best football player in the world, Lionel Messi is all time leading scorer for FC Barcelona and has won five Ballon d’Or which is the most by any individual. Messi has also partnered with famous brands including Adidas, Gatorade and Tata Motors. Adidas also announced a lifetime deal with Lionel Messi and uses him frequently in promoting company’s new boots. Besides these endorsement deals, Messi also earns a weekly wage of $430,000 with FC Barcelona.
3. Neymar Jr. (FC Barcelona & Brazil)
Brazil international Neymar sits 3rd on the list with total earnings of $37 million. Neymar earns $15 million from salary and bonus and $22 million from endorsements. He is currently the only player who is earning more off the field than on. Neymar garnered worldwide acclaim for his skill and playing style which prompted many to compare him to Brazilian legend Pele. He is also sponsored by major companies including sports giant Nike, Gillette and Red Bull. At an age of just 25, he is already on a weekly contract of $360,000 with FC Barcelona.
4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid & Wales)
Real Madrid and Wales star Gareth Bale earns a total of $34 million which includes $23 million in form of salary and bonus and $11 million from sponsorship. Bale was once the most expensive football player when he moved to Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur for a then world record fee of $110 million. But that record was broken in 2016 when Paul Pogba moved to Manchester United from Juventus. Major brands including Adidas, Konami and Foot Locker sponsor Gareth Bale. He currently earns a wage of $440,000 per week at Real Madrid.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United & Sweden)
The Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic retired from international football in 2016 but this did not stop him from earning even more money. His earnings stand at $32 million out of which $27 million comes from salary and bonus and the rest in the form of endorsements. Zlatan has won a trophy every season of his career since 2001 which has now taken his tally to 33 major trophies. His illustrious career includes winning the league titles in Netherlands, Spain, Italy and France. His current contract with Manchester United earns him $280,000 a week.
6. Wayne Rooney (Manchester United & England)
Wayne Rooney sits 6th on the list with $23.6 million earnings. He earns $17.6 million from salary and $6 million from endorsement deals. Rooney has played as a forward for Manchester United for over a decade and has scored over 250 goals for the Reds since joining the club in 2001. It goes without saying that Rooney has earned his icon reputation and the hefty paycheck that comes with it. Wayne Rooney pockets nearly $325,000 a week which is the 2nd highest in the Premier League after his fellow teammate Paul Pogba.
7. Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona & Uruguay)
Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez earns nearly $23.3 million which includes $17.3 million as salary and bonus. Suarez joined FC Barcelona from Liverpool reportedly for $93 million in 2014 and since then his goal scoring and money has constantly been on rising. The prolific striker is a part of famous attacking trio MSN of FC Barcelona and makes nearly $300,000 per week.
8. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City & Argentina)
The Argentine forward Sergio Aguero makes $22.6 million which includes $14.6 million as salary and bonus and the rest $8 million as endorsements. He is the top scorer for English club Manchester City and featured heavily in Puma advertisements in 2016. His current contract with Manchester City of $295,000 per week makes him the 3rd highest paid player in the Premier League.
9. James Rodriguez (Real Madrid & Colombia)
The Colombian star James Rodriguez came into headlines during 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil which saw him move to Real Madrid. But he has not been getting much playing time in the Spanish capital with many already regarding him as the most expensive bench warmer. James Rodriguez still has earnings of $21.9 million and earns a weekly wage of $150,000.
10. Paul Pogba (Manchester United & France)
French international Paul Pogba’s earning stand at $21.2million, including $17.2 million as salary and his endorsement earnings of $4.2 million comes majorly from Adidas. Paul Pogba became the most expensive signing in football history when Manchester United signed him from Juventus in 2016 for a world record fee of $118 million surpassing the former record holder Gareth Bale. Pogba is also the highest paid player in the Premier League with a contract of $370,000 per week.