Footballers at the highest level earn an incredible amount of money in wages and as far as the very best in the business like Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar are concerned, those numbers are ridiculous.
Over the past decade or so, the sheer amount of money that has been pumped into football has been outrageous. As a result, transfer fees are inflated and player salaries have gone through the roof. Long gone are the days when a million used to be a big sum in the world of football.
Players these days pocket hundreds of thousands of pounds on a weekly basis in wages alone. On average, the most high-profile players take home a million a week. The best in the business takes home a lot more than that.
A footballer’s salary is usually in proportion with how much of an essential component he is of the team he is playing fpr. Marca has now revealed the 29 highest earning footballers in the world.
They have quoted publications such as L’Equipe, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Bild, Spotrac and The Sun as external sources as well. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the highest paid footballers on the planet right now.
#10 Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) – €15 million
Bayern Munich henchman Robert Lewandowski has been in the form of his life. He is justified in feeling robbed off the Ballon d’Or last year as the award was canceled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lewandowski scored the most number of goals last season across all of Europe’s top flights and has kicked on in the same vein this term. In fact, he has stepped it up in the 2020-21 season and already has 32 goals from 24 appearances in the Bundesliga. He has added five more in the UEFA Champions League.
The continental treble winner last term takes home €15 million in wages annually and you cannot really argue with that.
#9 Kai Havertz (Chelsea) – €16m
Kai Havertz was Chelsea’s most expensive signing in the summer of 2020. Havertz had just come off an impressive season for Bayer Leverkusen and was earmarked as the next big thing in German football.
However, Havertz hasn’t exactly hit the ground running at Chelsea and we’ve seen what he is capable of only in flashes. He has just one goal and two assists in the Premier League this season and will need toep it up if he wants to justify his wages.
After all, he is the highest earning member in the Chelsea squad.
#8 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) – €17m
Manchester City have been flying this season. It’d be fair to say that they are well on their way to winning yet another Premier League title. Raheem Sterling has been one of their most consistent players under Pep Guardiola and he has kept it up this season, scoring nine goals and providing five assists in 25 Premier League appearances.
The 26-year-old continues to be a nightmare for fullbacks with his quick feet and incredible pace. City have had to rely on Sterling for goals in the absence of Sergio Aguero and Sterling hasn’t had much trouble delivering.
#7 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, on loan at Tottenham) – €17m
Gareth Bale was warming the bench at Real Madrid in his latter days, pocketing a hefty sum on a weekly basis, and Los Blancos had to do something about it.
With teams not willing to buy him due to his injury problems, they eventually loaned him out to his former club Tottenham Hotspur, reportedly on the condition that they’ll pay half his wages.
Bale struggled to hit the ground running at his former club due to injury woes once again. But now it looks like he is back to his best and the Welshman has become one of Spurs’ main players over the last couple of months.
In his last eight matches, Gareth Bale has scored six goals and provided three assists and those are the kind of numbers we’re used to seeing from him and that is the reason why he gets pockets €17 million in wages.
#6 Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – €18m
Manchester City midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne being on the list of the highest earning players in the world should come as no surprise. Arguably one of the very best midfielders in Europe right now, it is De Bruyne’s unbelievable passing range and vision that sets him apart.
In addition to pulling the strings from midfield and orchestrating play, Kevin De Bruyne also chips in with goals and he has scored some absolute peaches this season as well.
The Belgian has five goals and 11 assists to his name in the Premier League this term. He has a goal and four assists from three appearances in the UEFA Champions League as well. KDB is a champion footballer and his annual wages reflect the same.
#5 Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – €19m
Frenchman Paul Pogba is currently Manchester United’s highest paid player. Though critics are still divided on whether or not Paul Pogba has justified the £90 million the Red Devils paid to bring him back from Juventus, there is no doubting the fact that he has been one of their most important players over the last five years or so.
Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, particularly after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, Pogba has been exceptional. His importance to the team was interestingly highlighted in his absence as Manchester United endured a slew of underwhelming results as they struggled to win midfield battles in several games.
Whether or not Paul Pogba will be at Manchester United beyond the end of the season is still up for debate. If he ends up staying, he will earn more than he currently does at Old Trafford and that will take him higher up this list.
#4 Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona) – €21m
The jury is out on whether or not Antoine Griezmann’s signing has been beneficial for Barcelona. After all they shelled out €120 million to trigger his release clause in the summer of 2019.
Griezmann has not really hit the heights of his Atletico Madrid days just yet at Barcelona and he will turn 30 in a few days. But he is one of Barcelona’s highest earners right now, going home with an annual pay of €21 million.
#3 Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain) – €30m
Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar Jr. is still the most expensive signing in the history of the game. The Brazilian joined PSG from Barcelona to escape Lionel Messi’s shadow and it has most definitely worked out for him in a financial sense.
Neymar has been outstanding for the Parisiens as well and led from the front as they made it to the final of the UEFA Champions League last season. It would have been the perfect story for Neymar as it would have been exactly what he set out to do when he secured the switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar pockets €30 million in annual wages and it is no surprise that he is one of the three highest-earning footballers on the planet. Few players are as mesmerizing with the ball at their feet as Neymar is and we expect to see greater things from the 29-year-old.
#2 Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – €31m
Cristiano Ronaldo joined Juventus in the summer of 2018 after an extremely successful stint at Real Madrid, in a deal worth more than €100 million. He immediately became their highest paid player and for good reason.
Ronaldo has been outstanding for Juventus and has scored 96 goals for the Bianconeri in 130 matches across all competitions. Despite being 36-years-old, he continues to be one of the best footballers on the planet and one of the most prolific goalscorers in Europe.
Cristiano Ronaldo gets €31 million in wages annually and that’s nearly four times what Juventus’ second highest-earner Matthijs De Ligt pockets.
#1 Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – €76m
Lionel Messi bore the brunt of an immense amount of criticism when the details of his Barcelona contract were leaked. Barcelona are in a precarious financial condition but Lionel Messi continues to earn more than twice the amount of money his arch rival Cristiano Ronaldo takes home in wages.
At 33-years-old, Lionel Messi is still unstoppable but his future is not resolved just yet. He could still leave Barcelona in the summer and if he did, only very few clubs would have the financial clout to match Messi’s wage demands.
€76 million is how much European giants pay for marquee signings these days. The financial strain on Barcelona can be relieved by cutting Messi loose but whether or not that will be a good move is debatable as we know for a fact that you can’t just replace the kind of quality Lionel Messi adds.