Each year a number of outlets publish figures on who the highest earning soccer players are in the world. All trying to get the next scoop, some seem believable, some way off the mark.
We’ve taken a look through the most reputable lists and it will come as no surprise that two of the biggest names in world soccer – Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – are the highest earners.
Even most American sports fans will recognise these two behemoths of world soccer. But who are the next biggest earners in the global game?
Forbes reported last year that PSG pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappé were the next highest earners. Brazilian star Neymar looked set to earn $75 million alone from his playing contract. While his teammate banked around a third of that at $28 million.
Mbappé has widely been heralded as the next biggest earner after having signed a bumper contract with PSG. It is alleged the Frenchman has landed a signing bonus of $180 million this summer. This comes on top of a new $50 million a year contract itself.
Another player who will be hunting a fresh contract is Kylian’s compatriot Paul Pogba. The French international has recently been part of a large-scale exodus of players at Manchester United, as the club are looking to rebuild this summer.
United currently pay some of the highest wages in the world, despite only being sixth favorites to lift the EPL trophy next season, according to some of the best betting sites in the USA.
Pogba has been touted to some of the richest clubs in the world. The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG and even Manchester City are in the mix. It looks likely that Pogba will be returning to his former club, Italian side Juventus, who have had a clearout of their own.
Another player on the move is Bayern Munich’s wantaway striker Robert Lewandowski. The Polish international captain and topscorer has declared his desire to leave Germany after spending eight seasons at the club.
Lewandowski is reportedly earning around $27 million a year, cited by a number of reports. Barcelona are supposedly interested in signing the striker, which could trigger a domino effect of summer transfers.
It could see another huge earner, Frenkie de Jong, leave Catalonia. Transfer rumors abound that the Dutchman is set to reunite with his former Ajax trainer Erik ten Hag, who has just taken on the reins at Manchester United.
United are set to make de Jong one of the highest paid players in the world, a huge improvement on his already lucrative $8 million a year contract. It is unclear whether de Jong wants to depart the Camp Nou. The midfield maestro was tipped to be one of the next big playmakers in the mold of his predecessor.
That unlikely antecedent, Andres Iniesta, is still one of the world’s highest paid soccer players. Despite being the ripe old age of 38, the World Cup winner is widely considered one of the greatest midfielders of the modern age.
Now plying his trade at Vissel Kobe in Japan, Iniesta reportedly earns over $38 million a year, despite playing in what many would regard as a peripheral league.
According to Statista the common factor among all the top earners in soccer is they receive the majority of their earnings through their football clubs. This is even true of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are peppered across global marketing campaigns.
Players coming toward the end of their careers like Iniesta, Lewandowski or Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale, only typically make between 4-8% of their total earnings from endorsement deals. It demonstrates that despite the global reach of the game, soccer players still rely on the big money contracts to land them the majority of their earnings year to year.
With the transfer market in full swing this summer, we could be about to see some of the biggest money moves in world soccer, and potentially some new highest earners to boot.
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The Highest Earning Soccer Players Who Aren’t Ronaldo Or Messi | TooAthletic.com