10 Richest Soccer Players in the World
Football, or soccer in America, is one of the most popular kinds of sports with more than 3.5 billion fans around the world. There are so many things we get attracted to soccer by, including incredible skills, goals, strategies as well as celebrations, which differ in various countries and are even specifically invented by players to stand out from the rest.
For many people in the world, soccer isn’t just sport. It’s a religion with its own idols and rules. Soccer is a very spectacular kind of sports. Besides witnessing battles for the victory at the field, no less interesting events may take place at the tribunes, where the fans do their best to support their team.
No one will be surprised to discover that soccer players are pretty rich people. The professional soccer players earn much more than professional athletes in other kinds of sports. The wealthiest of them play in Europe. Spain, France, England, Italy and Germany are the countries with the highest salaries for soccer players. The salaries in MLS are much lower, but many players from European clubs finish their career in American clubs, having the highest wages in the league.
Besides having salaries at their clubs (which are very high), the majority of players receive huge sums for advertising products and brands and investing money into property. Also, it becomes pretty popular among soccer players to run their own businesses, which have to do with everything, but the most popular directions are clothing and perfumes.
So, let’s discover who the richest soccer players in the world are and how they earned so much money.
Total wealth: $90 million
Our list starts with Frank Lampard, a former soccer player. Being one of the key players of Chelsea soccer club, he earned about $6.7 million a year and was the highest paid player in the Premier League. In New York City, he became one of the MLS top earners with the wage of $6 million. Moreover, Lampard collaborated with many brands, among which are Nike and Adidas.
Frank Lampard is one of the best English players in the history of soccer. He is the all-time leading goalscorer for Chelsea club, where he played for 13 years. Also, he is one of the greatest midfielders of his generation and is the only midfielder, who scored 150 and more goals in the Premier League.
Lampard started his career in West Ham United team, but reached success, playing for Chelsea from 2001 to 2014. He was called Chelsea Player of the Year for 3 times. Together with the club, Frank won the English Premier League 3 times, 4 FA Cups, 2 Football League Cups, 2 FA Community Shields, 2011/12 UEFA Champions League and 2012/13 UEFA Europa League.
Internationally, Frank Lampard played for the England national team, capping 106 times and scoring 29 goals. In 2004 and 2005, he was called England Player of the Year. Among his individual soccer awards are 2005 FIFA Player of the Year Silver Award, 2005 Ballon d’Or Silver Award, 2005 FWA Footballer of the Year, 2008 UEFA Midfielder of the Year and many others.
Besides taking part in advertising campaigns, the former soccer player writes children books and works on TV, being a team captain in ITV comedy panel show “Play to the Whistle” in 2015-2017 and a soccer expert on BT Sport.
Total wealth: $93 million
Ronaldinho hasn’t played soccer at the professional level for already 2 years, but he will always remain a legend of Brazilian soccer. That’s why, the player participates in various advertising campaigns, including the ones for Coca Cola, Nike, Danone and Lenovo. Also, he collaborates with Italian businessman Fabio Cordella and together, they launched a “wine of champions” range with 11 different labels of the drink.
Ronaldinho is one of the best players of his generation. He played as an attacking midfielder as well as a forward and winger. The athlete managed to play for the most well-known soccer clubs in the world, which are PSG, Barcelona and Milan. At the club level, he won 2001 UEFA Intertoto Cup with PSG, 2010/11 Serie A with Milan as well as 2004/05 and 2005/06 La Liga, 2005 and 2006 Supercopa de Espana, 2005/06 UEFA Champions League with Barcelona.
Playing for the Brazil national team, Ronaldinho won 1999 Copa America, 2002 FIFA World Cup and 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup. In 97 matches for the Brazil team, the player scored 33 goals. Ronaldinho also has many individual trophies, including 2004 and 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year, 2004.-2005 UEFA Club Forward of the Year, 2005 Ballon d’Or, 2009 Golden Foot.
The Brazilian player has featured in EA Sports FIFA video game series, appearing on the cover in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 game editions. Ronaldinho also takes part in some social projects. He collaborates with UNICEF and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS.
Total wealth: 95 million
Being a star of Real Madrid club, Raul earned $8.5 million a year. But the retired soccer player earns much more, having common business ventures with Scar Sport Europe (renewable energy), Luri (a property company) and Cadmus (an energy company).
Raul played for Real Madrid team for 16 years and became the club’s second all-time top goalscorer with 323 goals. He is also the most capped player in the history of the club with 741 appearances. In addition, Raul is the third highest goalscorer in the Champions League history, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Playing for Real Madrid, Raul won 6 La Liga, 4 Supercopa de Espana, 3 UEFA Champions League, 2002 UEFA Super Cup, 1998 and 2002 Intercontinental Cup titles. In 2006, he was awarded with a Gold Medal of the Royal Order of Sporting Merit by Government of Spain and in 2009, the soccer player gained a Gold Medal from the City of Madrid.
Raul played for the Spain national team, but didn’t win any prestigious titles. He appeared in 102 games and scored 44 goals. The player took part in 3 FIFA World Cups and 2 European Championships.
Among the individual trophies, won by Raul, are 5 La Liga’s Best Spanish Player, 2 UEFA Champions League top goalscorer, 3 UEFA Club Forward of the Year, 2001 Ballon d’Or silver award, 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year bronze award. Also, he was a runner-up at 2009, 2010 and 2011 Golden Foot Award.
Total wealth: $98 million
At the peak of his career, Samuel Eto’o earned $12 million at Barcelona and $10 million at Inter Milan. In 2011, he became the world’s highest-paid soccer player after signing a $24.5 million deal with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. At the moment, the 37 year old player represents Turkish club Konyaspor, but his salary isn’t revealed. In addition, Samuel has the endorsements deals with Puma and Ford.
Samuel Eto’o is the most decorated African player of all time, winning 4 African Player of the Year awards. He is the record holder in number of appearances by an African player in La Liga. Samuel is the second player in history, who scored in two UEFA Champions League finals and the fourth player, who won the trophy 2 years in a row with 2 different teams.
Samuel Eto’o won the majority of his club trophies with Barcelona and Inter Milan. Being a player of Barcelona, he won 3 La Liga, 2008/09 Copa del Rey, 2 Supercopa de Espana and 2 UEFA Champions League titles. Together with Inter, the player gained 2009/10 Serie A, 2 Coppa Italia, 2010 Supercopa Italiana, 2009/10 UEFA Champions League, 2010 FIFA Club World Cup.
Internationally, Eto’o played for Cameroon national team. He scored 56 goals in 118 matches. He is the winner of 2000 and 2002 African Cup of Nations as well as 2000 Olympic Games.
Among the most prestigious individual awards of Samuel Eto’o are 2005 FIFA World Player of the Year Bronze Award, 2006 UEFA Club Forward of the Year, 2010 FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and 2015 Golden Foot.
Total wealth: $108 million
Though Kaka retired from soccer in late 2017, he is still considered as one of the richest players. His salaries at AC Milan and Real Madrid were pretty high before he moved to Orlando City and became the highest-paid player in the MLS history with the salary of $6.6 million as well as a guaranteed compensation of $7.2 million per year. In addition, he has endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, Samsung, Gillette and some other well-known brands.
Kaka spent the best years of his career in Milan and Real Madrid soccer clubs. Together with the first one, he won Serie A, Supercopa Italiana, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. He was called the Serie A Footballer of the Year 2 times. Playing for Real, he won La Liga and Copa del Rey.
Kaka appeared in 92 matches for the Brazil national team and scored 29 goals. He gained 2002 FIFA World Cup, 2005 and 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Being one of the best players of his generation, Kaka is also known for his humanitarian work. In 2008 and 2009, he was called as one of the most influential people in the world by the Time 100.
Kaka’s individual trophies include UEFA Club Midfielder of the Year, UEFA Champions League Bronze Foot, UEFA Champions League top scorer, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and many others.
Total wealth: $112 million
At the moment, Wayne Rooney earns almost $11 million per year at Everton soccer club, which is just a half of his salary at Manchester United team. However, the athlete also gets much money from various advertising campaigns. He has endorsement deals with Nike, Nokia, Ford and Coca-Cola.
Wayne Rooney is the top goalscorer for the England national team as well for Manchester United club with 253 goals. Also, Wayne is the Premier League second top scorer of all time. Playing for Manchester United Club for 13 years, he became one of two English players who won the Premier League, FA Cup, UEFA Champions League, League Cup, UEFA Europe League and FIFA Club World Cup.
Playing for England national team, Wayne had 119 international caps and scored 53 goals. Participating in UEFA Euro 2004, he scored 4 goals and became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the European Championships as well as the England team. He also participated in 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup as well as 2012 and 2016 European Championships.
Rooney is the owner of such awards as Golden Boy, UEFA European Under-17 Championship Golden Player, FWA Footballer of the Year, PFA Players’ Player of the Year, BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, Premier League Player of the Season, England Player of the Year, FIFA Club World Cup Most Valuable Player in the Final and FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball.
Total wealth: $114 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has recently become a player of the LA Galaxy, will have rather a modest salary at his new club, which is a bit more than $1 million per year. However, the athlete earns more by cooperating with many companies, including Volvo, Nivea, Xbox and Samsung. Moreover, he has his own sportswear and perfume brand.
Before signing a contract with LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic played for several top European teams, including Manchester United, PSG, Milan, Inter, Barcelona, Juventus and Ajax. He managed to win various competitions with these clubs, including Eredivisie, KNVB Cup, Johan Cruyff Shield, Serie A, Supercoppa Italiana, La Liga, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue, Trophee des Champions, EFL Cup, UEFA Europa League and FA Community Shield.
At the international level, Zlatan played for the Swedish national team for 16 years, appearing in 116 matches and scoring 62 goals. He is the all-time leading goalscorer of the Swedish team. He became the Swedish player of the Year 11 times and was called Swedish Forward of the Year also 11 times.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic won many individual awards as well, including Eurosport Goal of the Year, Serie A Most Loved Player, Serie A Footballer of the Year, Serie A Top Scorer, Golden Foot, Ligue 1 Player of the Year, Ligue 1 Top Goalscorer, FIFA Puskas Award, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue top goalscorer, EFL Cup top goalscorer.
Total wealth: $148 million
Neymar is the brightest star of the Brazilian soccer at the moment. Representing PSG soccer club, he gets more than $44 million a year. But it’s just a small part in comparison with the player’s endorsement deals. Neymar collaborates with many famous brands, including Nike, Panasonic, Red Bull, Volkswagen and many more. Moreover, the soccer player participates in various humanitarian and social campaigns. In 2017, he was called one of the most influential people in the world by Time 100.
Neymar attracted the worldwide attention by being a player of Brazilian club Santos, with which he won Campeonato Paulista, Copa do Brasil, Copa Libertadores and Recopa Sudaamericana. After joining Barcelona soccer club, the player managed to win La Liga, Cope del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup titles. In 2017, Neymar became the world’s most expensive player by moving to PSG for 222 million euro. Together with PSG, he gained Coupe de la Ligue trophy.
Internationally, Neymar is a player of Brazil national team. He has already appeared in 83 matches and scored 53 goals. He is the winner of 2011 South American Youth Championship, 2012 Olympic Silver Medal, 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2016 Olympic Gold Medal. At the moment, the player is the 4th highest goalscorer of the Brazil national team.
Neymar’s individual awards include FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball, South American Footballer of the Year, FIFA Puskas Award, FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball and Bronze Shoe, FIFA World Cup Bronze Foot, La Liga Best World Player, Samba Gold, Copa del Rey top scorer and UEFA Champions League top scorer.
Total wealth: $218 million
Being a magician of soccer, Lionel Messi also knows how to earn big money. His salary at Barcelona club is $50 million per year, but it’s rumored to rise to $100 million. And, in addition, the soccer player is often seen in various advertising campaigns. For example, he collaborates with Adidas, Samsung, Gillette and Dolce & Gabbana.
Lionel Messi, who is often regarded as the best player in the world and one of the greatest players of all time, devotes his life to one soccer club, Barcelona. Together with his teammates, Messi is the winner of 8 La Liga, 5 Copa del Rey, 7 Supercopa de Espana, 4 UEFA Champions League, 3 UEFA Super Cup and 3 FIFA Club World Cup titles.
Messi plays for Argentine national team and won 2005 FIFA U20 World Cup and 2008 Olympic Gold Medal. He scored 77 goals in 146 matches, becoming the Argentine all-time top scorer. He won Argentine Footballer of the Year award 11 times. At 2006 FIFA World Cup, Lionel scored his first goal for Argentine and became the youngest player to score for Argentine at the World Cup, being 18 years 357 days old.
It’s impossible to count all the awards, earned by Lionel Messi. However, among the most prestigious ones are 5 Ballon d’Or, 4 European Golden Shoe, FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award, UEFA Club Footballer and Forward of the Year, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and UEFA Champions League top goalscorer.
Total wealth: $230 million
Undoubtedly, Cristiano Ronaldo is a legendary player. Playing for Real Madrid soccer team, he is paid more than $20 million per year. Moreover, he receives bonuses for scored goals and other privileges. Besides soccer, Ronaldo earns money in other ways, advertising products, having his own clothing line and being an investor of a hotel chain.
Ronaldo is considered as the best player in the world as well as the greatest soccer player ever. At the club level, he showed the best performances at Manchester United and Real Madrid. Being a player of the first, he won Premier League, FA Cup, Football League Cup, FA Community Shield, UEFA Champions League and FIFA Club World Cup. Together with Real Madrid, Cristiano got 2 La Liga, 2 Copa del Rey, 2 Supercopa de Espana, 3 UEFA Champions League, 2 UEFA Super Cup and 3 FIFA Club World Cup titles.
Internationally, Cristiano Ronaldo plays for the Portugal national team. He is the winner of 2016 UEFA European Championship. He is the best Portuguese player of all time, Portugal’s most capped player of all time with 149 matches played as well as Portugal’s all-time top goalscorer with 81 goals.
Having won dozens of individual trophies, Ronaldo can boast of having 5 Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year, 3 UEFA Best Player in Europe Awards, 4 European Golden Shoe, 6 UEFA Champions League top scorer, FIFA Puskas Award, FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball and Boot and many others.
However, our list misses two more players, Mathieu Flamini and Faiq Bolkiah. Their incomes from soccer aren’t so high as the ones of the players from our list and, even more, we don’t know exactly how much they earn. However, it’s highly possible that they can be considered as the richest soccer players.
Mathieu Flamini plays for Arsenal (London). Recently, it became known that he invested into an energy company, which turned out to be rather successful. There is no exact data about how much the Arsenal midfielder earns on this project, but there are rumors that Mathieu is already a billionaire. It’s even possible that Flamini is already wealthier than the Arsenal club owner.
One more rich soccer player is Faiq Bolkiah. However, he earns money neither by soccer nor by endorsements, but because of his origin. The player is a nephew of Sultan of Brunei, whose worth is estimated as $20 billion. Bolkiah played for Chelsea’s Under 18, but he is currently a player of Leicester team.
So, you see that it’s very profitable to be a professional soccer player. The most talented athletes earn millions of dollars and they are treated in the same way as the most popular world’s celebrities.
Moreover, the most well-known soccer players manage to make big money on their name by participating in various advertising campaigns as well as investing into business and developing their own brands. They prove that it’s really cool to play soccer and inspire millions of boys around the world to engage into this kind of sports in the hope to become rich and famous.