How Much do Soccer Players REALLY Earn?

It is no secret that in modern football, it is possible for top soccer players to earn a significant amount of money. For example, after endorsements and sponsorships, Lionel Messi is reportedly earning around $111million per year.

Although Lionel Messi is the highest earner out of any professional soccer player, there is still scope for others to earn a significant amount of money as well.


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Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese forward who has recently transferred from Real Madrid to Juventus, is the second highest earner in global soccer, earning a reported $107million per year.

Again, it is a well known fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most marketable athletes in the world, which helps to explain the huge pay gap between Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., who is earning around $89million per year, and the rest of the professional soccer players.

When looking towards the global soccer superstars, the top players will all earn in excess of $20million per year, that’s according to research from findbettingsites. This is an astronomical figure, and once again demonstrates the global powerhouse that soccer has become, largely due to it’s popularity.

In China, a country that was arguably one of the least successful in terms of producing world class soccer talent, there appears to have been a shift away from the norm.

In the past, European teams have been the top financially, with Spain and France leading the way for highest paid players. However, when examining the list of the top 20 highest paid soccer players, the abundance of players currently playing in the Chinese Super League is one of the things that stands out.

Oscar, Graziano Pelle, and Hulk, are all players who are currently playing in China, and all made the switch from European football, to play in the Chinese Super League.

When David Beckham transferred from Real Madrid, to LA Galaxy in 2009, the revolution for soccer in the United States began. Since then, a host of top players have made the switch from playing their football in Europe, to finishing their careers in America.

Players such as Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Jermaine Defoe all made the switch to clubs playing soccer in the MLS. This is largely due to the fact that clubs would pay them massive wages, as these superstars would supposedly increase the commercial aspect of the clubs.

As you can see from the infographic, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish striker who has played for various elite clubs throughout Europe, is the most recent player to make the switch, and is reportedly earning around $21million per year, whilst playing for LA Galaxy.

This upwards trajectory of spending looks set to continue, with inflated TV deals being signed every season, and match day ticket prices constantly on the rise. The lucrative life of soccer superstars doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.