Professional soccer is one of the most popular and lucrative sports in the world, and the top players in the world can earn millions of dollars per year in salary and endorsements. As a result, some of the richest people in the world are professional soccer players.
Here is a list of the top 10 richest soccer players in the world as of July 2023, according to Forbes:
1. Faiq Bolkiah (Brunei) – $20 billion:
Faiq Bolkiah is a member of Brunei’s royal family and a professional footballer. He is the nephew of Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei, who is one of the richest individuals in the world. Faiq Bolkiah’s wealth primarily comes from his family’s extensive holdings and investments in various industries, including oil and gas. While he is not as well-known in the football world as some of the other players on this list, Faiq has played for several football clubs, including Leicester City in the English Premier League and the Brunei national team.
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina) – $600 million:
Lionel Messi is widely regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time. He spent the majority of his professional career with Barcelona, where he won numerous domestic and international titles, including four UEFA Champions League titles and ten La Liga titles. In August 2021, Messi left Barcelona and joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in France. He has also had a successful international career with the Argentine national team, winning the Copa America in 2021.
Messi’s wealth comes from his lucrative contracts, endorsements, and various business ventures. He has been associated with major brands such as Adidas, PepsiCo, and Huawei. Messi’s immense success on the field, combined with his marketability, has resulted in substantial earnings throughout his career.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) – $500 million:
Cristiano Ronaldo is another football icon known for his incredible skills and goal-scoring ability. He has played for several top clubs, including Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Juventus. In August 2021, Ronaldo returned to Manchester United after a stint with Juventus.
Like Messi, Ronaldo has won numerous titles, including five UEFA Champions League titles and multiple domestic league titles. He has also achieved great success with the Portuguese national team, winning the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019.
Ronaldo’s wealth comes from his playing contracts, endorsements, and business ventures. He has had partnerships with brands like Nike, Tag Heuer, and Herbalife. Ronaldo is known for his strong work ethic and dedication to his craft, which has contributed to his immense popularity and financial success.
4. David Beckham (England) – $450 million:
David Beckham is a former English professional footballer who gained global fame during his playing career. He played for clubs such as Manchester United, Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain. Beckham was renowned for his exceptional crossing ability and set-piece expertise.
Although Beckham retired from professional football in 2013, he has remained a prominent figure in the sports and entertainment industry. His wealth stems from his successful playing career, various endorsement deals, and business ventures. Beckham has collaborated with brands such as Adidas, H&M, and Tudor. He has also invested in ventures like Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer (MLS) team he co-owns.
5. Dave Whelan (England) – $210 million:
Dave Whelan is a former English professional footballer and businessman. After retiring from playing, he founded the sports retail company JJB Sports, which grew into a successful chain in the United Kingdom. Whelan later sold the company and became the owner of Wigan Athletic, a football club in England.
Whelan’s wealth primarily comes from his business ventures, including JJB Sports and his other investments. However, it’s worth noting that as of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Wigan Athletic had faced financial difficulties and entered administration, resulting in a change of ownership.
6. Neymar Jr. (Brazil) – $200 million:
Neymar Jr., whose full name is Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, is a Brazilian professional footballer. He began his career at Santos in Brazil before moving to Barcelona in 2013. After a successful stint with Barcelona, Neymar transferred to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2017 for a world-record fee.
Neymar is known for his exceptional dribbling skills and creativity on the field. He has won numerous titles, including domestic league titles and the UEFA Champions League with Barcelona. Although injuries have affected his playing time at PSG, Neymar has remained a key player for the Brazilian national team, winning the Copa America in 2019.
Neymar’s wealth comes from his playing contracts, endorsements, and business ventures. He has had partnerships with brands like Nike, Red Bull, and Beats by Dre. Neymar’s marketability and immense talent have made him one of the highest-earning footballers in the world.
7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden) – $190 million:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish professional footballer known for his powerful presence on the field and his remarkable goal-scoring ability. He has played for several top clubs across Europe, including Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, and AC Milan.
Throughout his career, Ibrahimovic has won numerous domestic league titles and individual awards. He has also been a key player for the Swedish national team. Ibrahimovic’s wealth primarily comes from his playing contracts, which have seen him command substantial salaries at top clubs. Additionally, he has had endorsement deals with brands such as Nike and Volvo.
8. Kylian Mbappé (France) – $180 million:
Kylian Mbappé is a French professional footballer who rose to prominence at a young age. He started his career at AS Monaco before transferring to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2017. Mbappé has been praised for his incredible speed, technical skills, and goal-scoring prowess.
Mbappé has won several domestic titles with PSG and has been a vital player for the French national team, helping them win the FIFA World Cup in 2018. His potential and performances have garnered attention and sparked comparisons to great players of the past.
Mbappé’s wealth primarily comes from his playing contracts, endorsements, and business ventures. He has had partnerships with brands like Nike, Hublot, and EA Sports. At a young age, Mbappé has already established himself as one of the highest-earning and most promising footballers in the world.
9. Wayne Rooney (England) – $170 million:
Wayne Rooney is a retired English professional footballer who had a highly successful career spanning several clubs. He began his professional journey at Everton before joining Manchester United in 2004. Rooney spent the majority of his career at Manchester United, winning numerous domestic and international titles, including the UEFA Champions League and the Premier League.
Rooney also represented the England national team, becoming their all-time leading goal scorer. After leaving Manchester United, he played for Everton, D.C. United in the MLS, and Derby County before retiring in January 2021.
Rooney’s wealth primarily comes from his playing contracts and endorsements. He has had partnerships with brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, and EA Sports. Rooney’s contributions to the game and his iconic status in English football have contributed to his financial success.
10. Ronaldo Luís Nazário (Brazil) – $160 million:
Ronaldo Luís Nazário, commonly known as Ronaldo, is a retired Brazilian professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest strikers in the history of the sport. Ronaldo played for several top clubs, including Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, and AC Milan.
Throughout his career, Ronaldo won numerous titles, including domestic league titles and the UEFA Champions League. He also achieved great success with the Brazilian national team, winning the FIFA World Cup in 1994 and 2002.
Ronaldo’s wealth primarily comes from his playing contracts, endorsements, and business ventures. He has had partnerships with brands like Nike, Clear, and Santander. Ronaldo’s exceptional skills, speed, and goal-scoring ability made him one of the most marketable footballers of his time, contributing to his financial success.