The 2018 World Cup Final was watched by nearly one billion people worldwide, proving that soccer is, undeniably, the most popular sport in the world. Do you know what comes with billions of viewers? Billions of dollars of revenue, of course! With so much money flowing into the sport, the biggest stars are incredibly well paid. You might think you know just how much money Lionel Messi, Christiano Ronaldo, and Neymar make, but we bet you’re not even close. If you want to know exactly how large their bank accounts are, you’ve come to the right place.
Lionel Messi Is The $84 Million Dollar Man
Lionel Messi is one of the best soccer players in the history of the sport. At 30 years old, he’s been around long enough to prove he’s no fluke, and he gets paid accordingly. In 2018 alone, he is set to earn $84 million, a number which inflates to over $110 million when endorsement deals are added in!
Being great really has its perks! Some of the major brands Messi has contracts with are Gatorade, Adidas, Lays, Huawei Technologies, Pepsi, and Mastercard. He also earned extra income in 2018 for playing in the World Cup but the amount has not been made public.
Neymar Is On His Way To Nine Digit Club Soon
Neymar may have played second fiddle to Christiano Ronaldo during the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean the 26-year-old phenom isn’t earning his due as club player. Transferring to Paris Saint-Germain in 2018, Neymar is taking home a hefty $73 million paycheck.
Including endorsements from Red Bull, Gillette, Beats Electronics, Nike, and McDonald’s, Neymar is collecting around $90 million this year. Next year we’d be shocked if he hasn’t joined the nine digit club. He would become the youngest soccer star in the world, if he were to stamp his ticket.
Christiano Ronaldo Makes $47 Million In Endorsement Deals Alone
Based on salary alone, Christiano Ronaldo comes in third on our list, making $61 million. However, when endorsements are added in, those numbers grow to a gaudy $108 million. That’s right, Ronaldo is earning nearly double his salary in endorsements. How do we get those deals?
Like Neymar, Ronaldo has a deal with Nike. He also has higher end deals with underwear brands, CR7 Jeans, gyms, hotels, and American Tourister. During the 2018 World Cup, rumors surfaced that the superstar was looking to move on from Real Madrid. On July 10, 2018, it was announced he was transferring to Juventus.
Gareth Bale Once Set The Transfer Record
In 2013, Welsh born star Gareth Bale set the transfer record when he moved from the Tottenham Hotspurs to Real Madrid for $121 million. That money didn’t go to Bale, but that’s okay. He still make a very nice salary of $28.6 million a year. If only we were all so lucky.
As far as endorsement deals go, Bale isn’t as popular as his counterparts. He has one deal with Adidas worth $ 6 million. Still only 28 years old, we’re sure other deals are coming his way soon.
Ezequiel Lavezzi Is Making A Small Fortune In China
The decision by Ezequiel Lavezzi to decline participating in the World Cup was made easier by the $26.8 million he is getting paid annually to play for Hebei China Fortune. The club might regret paying him so much money, though. Injuries have limited his opportunities to get on the field.
Lavezzi’s last international appearance was 2016. He appeared in three matches for Argentina and scored two goals. It’s safe to say injury concerns have played their role in his preference to focus on his play at the club level since.
Oscar Dos Santos Made His Big Pay Day By Leaving Europe
Oscar Dos Santos, or simply Oscar to his fans, is making $25.9 million a year to play for Shanghai SIPG as a midfielder. Originally from Brazil, it wasn’t until he left for China that his first big payday came his way.
With his salary, Oscar is one of the highest paid players in Chinese history. On top of that he also has a small endorsement deal with Adidas for $1.5 million, bringing his 2018 total to $27.4 million. Not too shabby for a 26 year old.
Paul Pogba Is Living His Best 2018 With $29.5 Million And A World Cup Championship
As if being a key member of France’s 2018 World Cup Championship team wasn’t enough, Paul Pogba is also one of the faces of Manchester United in the English Premiere League. For his services, the English club pays him $25 million. Add in $4.5 million in endorsements from Adidas and it’s hard to deny Pogba is living his best life in 2018.
Although he’s only 25 years old, Pogba hinted after the World Cup he might be done with international competition. Once you’ve peaked why get greedy, right? Seriously, though, he might say that now, but we bet he’ll suit up for France again in 2022.
Kevin De Bruyne Is Worth All $22.3 Million He’s Making
When Manchester City announced they were paying a then-record British transfer fee to acquire talented midfielder Kevin De Bruyne in 2015, plenty of people turned their heads. Many even thought Manchester City had overpaid for the Wolfsburg star.
Since then, De Bruyne has put his money where his foot with and silenced the doubters. In his second match for the team he scored his first goal. One month later he was listed as a finalist for the Ballon d’Or. So far, his 2018 season has been slowed down by injuries, but when he’s healthy he is one of the best club players in the world.
Alexis Sanchez Is Chile’s All-Time Leading Goal Scorer
Like Oscar, Alexis Sanchez is usually referred to as just Alexis. It’s easy to become a one-name player when you’re Chile’s all-time leading goal scorer. Still 29 years young, we expect Alexis to be a major factor in Chile’s next World Cup bid as the country tries to complete some unfinished business.
Playing club soccer for Manchester United, Sanchez is making $22.3 million in salary in his first season. Before joining the team in 2018, Alexis starred with Arsenal, one of Manchester’s English Premiere League rivals. His debut made him the club’s first Chilean born player ever.
Wayne Rooney Took His Talents To Washington
At 32 years old, English soccer superstar Wayne Rooney followed in the footsteps of David Beckham before him, and transferred to the United States. Beckham signed a lucrative contract with the LA Galaxy when he moved in 2007. Playing for Everton at the time of his move to D.C. United, Rooney was set to earn $22 million in 2018.
On the international stage, Wayne Rooney has been a staple for England since 2004, when he was just 17 years old. He has played in four World Cups with England, wearing the captain’s band in 2014 and 2018. After the tournament in Russia ended, he announced his retirement from international play.
Thiago Silva Has Been A Steady Presence For Paris Saint-Germain Since 2012
On June 11, 2012, reports came out that Thiago Silva intended to transfer from Milan to Paris Saint-Germain. For the 2018 club season he’s making $21.4 million, no laughing matter for a player entering the wrong side of his 30s!
Silva has played in two World Cups with Brazil, showing off his untouchable skills on the international stage. If Silva decides to take one more go at glory in 2022, he will be 37 years old. If he’s still playing at an elite today, it’s hard for us to imagine he won’t be there again in four years.
Graziano Pelle Is A Very Well Paid But Sore Loser
Graziano Pelle is an Italian-born forward who has been playing for Shandong Luneng in China since 2016. He’s making $21.1. million in 2018, and although he is very well paid, he has shown in the past he’s not always gracious about it.
Playing for Italy in a World Cup qualifier against Spain, Pelle was taken out during the 59th minute. On his way to the bench, he refused to shake the hand of his manager. The show of disrespect got Pelle disqualified from Italy’s next match against Spain, and likely ended his chances of making the final World Cup roster if Italy had qualified.
This Is The Hulk You Love When He’s Angry
Hulk, born with the name Givanildo Vieiria do Souza, is the 31 year old star forward for Shanghai SIPG and Brazil’s international team. Playing at an elite level in China, Hulk is earning every bit of his $21 million salary. His dad, a major Lou Ferrigno fan, gave him the nickname that has defined his career.
Of course, his path with the Brazilian international squad hasn’t been filled with the same highs as his club career. Despite playing at a high level, Hulk was not picked to Brazil’s final roster for the 2018 World Cup.
Axel Witsel Made His Way Back From China In 2018
Belgium-born midfielder Axel Witsel took a long path back home in 2018. Leaving Belgium in 2012 to sign with Zenit Saint Petersburg in Russia, Witsel went further east in 2017, signing with Tianjin Quanjian. One year later, he signed a deal to play for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga for $21 million.
While we’re aware Germany is not Belgium, the move allows Witsel to play play much closer to home than he has in nearly a decade. He has played internationally for Belgium since 2008.
Angel Di Maria Mysteriously Signed With Paris Saint-Germain In 2015
Angel Di Maria is making $20.6 million playing club soccer for Paris Saint-Germain. When he originally transferred to the club in 2015, it was under mysterious circumstances. One year prior he had transferred to Manchester United for one of the most expensive fees of all time.
When he missed a flight for a Premiere League game one year later, eyebrows were raised across the globe. His manager even said he didn’t know what had happened. A few weeks later it was reported and confirmed that he skipped the flight to take physical with his new club, which he had been sold to for $51 million.
Kylian Mbappe Is Set For Life At 19 Years Old
Not only has Kylian Mbappe won a World Cup Championship before exiting his teens, he’s earning $20 million a year playing for Paris Saint-Germain. He has also been hailed by analysts as the best soccer player in the world under 20. How do we sign up for his life?
Playing for Paris Saint-German is a dream come true for the star. Not only is he well paid; he gets to play alongside Neymar! Rumors have spread that he is available for transfer, but with a $210 million price tag, it’s hard to see that happening.
Luis Suarez Is Uruguay’s All-Time Leader In Scoring
Luis Suarez is one of the best soccer players in the world. His pay proves it, too, as he makes just under $20 million in 2018 playing for Barcelona. When he originally transferred to the club in 2014, however, the cost was not released.
Eventually numbers were leaked and confirmed, showing his transfer cost Barcelona early $100 million. On the international stage he debuted with Uruguay in 2007 and has been transcendent for the team ever since. Not only is he Uruguay’s all-time scoring leader, he is also the face of soccer for the country.
Mesut Ozil Has Powerful Critics
Mesut Ozil is making close to $20 million to play for Arsenal, but if critics are to be believed, he’s not earning his paycheck. During the 2018 season, Ozil was reported to be in disagreement with his manager over a position change. His manager denied the clash, but held him out of the next match saying Ozil was ill.
Actor Vinnie Jones chimed in on Ozil’s absence shortly after, telling the embattled star, “go into hospitals and cook dinner for people… If you’re not enjoying it, go and build motorways or something. Go and do something you can be proud of if you’re not happy.”
Edinson Cavani Makes Paris Saint-Germain Unstoppable
It’s hard to believe the amount of money Paris Saint-Germain has invested in players for the 2018 season. You’ve already read about Mbappe and Neymar but they’re also paying Edinson Cavani a cool $18 million to play forward. As a trio, the “Three Musketeers” have turned the club team into a nearly unbeatable force.
On top of his club success, Cavani gets to line up alongside Luis Suarez on the international stage with Uruguay. Together, the pair almost single handedly punched the country’s first ticket to the World Cup Final since 1950.
Gerard Pique Is Barcelona’s Home Grown Hero
Gerard Pique is living his childhood dream, making $17.5 million to play for the team he grew up rooting for as a child. Born in Barcelona in 1987, Pique played for FC Barcelona’s youth team before leaving his home to play for Manchester United.
Playing on the reserve team and on loan to various teams for four years, Pique had an itch to come home in 2008. FC Barcelona bought out his contract with Manchester United and he made his hometown debut later that year. Since then, he has been a staple in the team’s lineup and a key piece to Spain’s international team.