Sports

The 12 Highest Paid Soccer Players in the World

 

Football is a sport in which the top professionals are amongst the richest athletes on the planet. The players at the top of the sport earn a fortune as a combination of their club salaries and the massive endorsement deals that they enjoy with top global sponsors. AFKSports looks at the 12 most well paid football players in the world according to a comprehensive list put together by France Football.

11) Eden Hazard (Chelsea): $21.9 million

The Chelsea talent is tie for 11th spot on the list of football’s top earners alongside Yaya Toure, raking in almost $30 million during 2014 between a combination of club salary and his endorsement deals. A very marketable player, the Belgian is one of Chelsea’s top performers this season, contributing to their top spot in the English Premier League

11) Yaya Toure (Manchester City): $21.9 million

The Ivorian midfielder is the only African player included in the top 20 spots on the list, with endorsements that include money-spinning deals with Puma and Nissan. He has a deal with the Citizens which will keep him at the club until 2017. The current African Player of the Year negotiated his Puma deal to include an element dedicated to charity, with Puma clothing and shoes donated to underprivileged in West Africa.

10) Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich): $30 million

The Bayern Munich striker breaks into the top ten of this illustrious list, earning a staggering $30 million per years between commercial deals and his pay package at the German club. Despite this, his total annual income is still less than half of the amount that the top earner on this list raked in during 2014

9) Sergio Aguero (Manchester City): $31.4 million

The Argentina international is well known for his goal scoring abilities, and he is well paid for his talents on the football pitch. While Manchester City pay him around $18 million per year, endorsements are key to Aguero’s overwhelming wealth, with a long-term Puma deal agreed in 2011 which makes him their highest-paid sponsored footballer

8) Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain): $31.9 million

The Paris Saint-Germain striker is known for embracing his arrogance, but his self-confidence has certainly contributed to his astounding earning potential as a top footballer, seeing the Swede appear at 8th on the list of the big earners, with an estimated $31.9 gained in 2014. Ibrahimovic is in the process of launching his own line of sports clothing after announcing a deal with Norwegian fashion house Dressmann.

7) Wayne Rooney (Manchester United): $33.4 million

The English attacker signed an extension to his contract at Manchester United early in 2014 which made him one of the richest players in the world and committed him to the English side until June 2019. The agreement is worth nearly $26 million a year, including commercial rights, and Rooney increases his financial stake with sponsorship deals tying him to brands such as Nike and EA Sports

6) Gareth Bale (Real Madrid): $35.3 million

The Welshman became the player with the highest transfer fee when he joined Real Madrid from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013 for a record $132 million. He is paid over $450,000 per week at the Spanish club, and he reportedly trademarked his signature heart hand gesture named the ‘Eleven of Hearts’, which he displays when he scores a goal, in the hopes of using it on clothes and footwear for further financial gain

5) Robin Van Persie (Manchester United): $38 million

The Dutch speedster made an estimated $38 million last year, and is one of two Manchester United players on this list, with strike partner Wayne Rooney in 7th position. Van Persie enjoys lucrative sponsorship deals with adidas and Pepsi, amongst other brands

4)Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain): $40.8 million

The former AC Milan player is one of two Brazilians on the list, and the only defender in the top 10. His $40.8 million sets him apart as the fourth highest paid football player in the world. He is well-respected by his peers and considered a humble and easy-going person, making him the ideal professional for brands to work with, as fans and fellow players attest to his likeability

3) Neymar (Barcelona): $54.1 million

Lionel Messi’s Barcelona team-mate is third on the list of the highest paid football players. The Brazilian star was paid over $54 million in 2014, and is one of the footballers on this list with a number of brands who use his name and image to sell their products and services to the masses. A few of the top names he is associated with include Rexona, Nike, Panasonic, Claro and Santander.

2) Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid): $80 million

Real Madrid’s Portuguese star is second on the list, pulling in an estimated $80 million from all sources. The highly marketable footballer is very popular amongst a number of the top global brands, which is why he made such an incredible amount of money in what was a World Cup year. Nike, Tag Heuer, Herbalife, Banco Espirito Santo, Samsung, Toyota and Konami all spend ridiculous amounts of money to be linked to the Madrid superstar, but there is still one player that was paid more money in 2014

1) Lionel Messi (Barcelona): $96.4 million

The Barcelona superstar tops the list as the highest paid footballer of 2014, with an incredible $96.4 million coming his way via club salary and numerous sponsorship deals. Messi’s club salary was believed to be in the region of $39.5 million for the year, while massive endorsements with global companies such as adidas, FIFA 15, Lays, Gillette, Pepsi and Turkish Airlines allowed him to grace the top of this money list.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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