The 10 Highest-Paid Soccer Players In The World Right Now

By on October 5, 2020 in ArticlesEntertainment

Soccer, or football, depending on where you're from, is the most popular sport in the world. The top players in the sport bring home enormous paychecks when you combine their salary and endorsements. The top two highest-paid soccer players are no surprise. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been trading places in the top two spots for years. Soccer is also the only team sport to have athletes, again Ronaldo and Messi, make $1 billion in salary and endorsements over their careers to date. That does not mean the two players are billionaires – the $1 billion is a cumulative figure before taxes, agent fees, and debt.

With years of domination by Ronaldo and Messi (and David Beckham before them), it's time for a new name to capture the attention of fans and the large paydays of the top stars in the sport. That rising star is Paris Saint-Germain player Kylian Mbappe. The 21-year-old also plays for the French national team. He is considered to be one of the best players in the sport. He lands at number four on this year's list. Mbappe is making a lot more money that Ronaldo and Messi were at his age, as well. Paris Saint-Germain paid his former team, Monaco, $215 million in 2017 to bring him on board. He will make $28 million this season and he has endorsement deals with Nike, and watch maker Hublot and is the face of EA Sports' FIFA 21.

Cumulatively, the 10 highest-paid soccer players are making $570 million in salary, bonuses, and endorsements this year. That's up 11% from the 2019-2020 season, which saw massive pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Countries with higher tax rates like France and Spain result in higher salary demands from top players to offset the taxes. Sometimes, in order to keep players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi happy, teams will pick up their tax bill, so that their net pay is closer to what they'd make in a country with lower taxes and/or in a top-flight league like the Premier League. Let's take a look at the 10 Highest Paid Soccer Players of 2020:

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo (Photo by Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images)

#10. David De Gea

Team: Manchester United

Total Earnings: $27 million

Salary: $24 Million

Endorsements: $3 million

David De Gea is the highest paid goalkeeper in soccer. He's been with Manchester United for nine years .

#9. Robert Lewandowski

Team: Bayern Munich

Total Earnings: $28 million

Salary: $24 million

Endorsements: $4 million

Robert Lewandowski was the favorite to win the 2020 Ballon d'Or, which is awarded to the best player in the world. France Football cancelled this year's award due to the pandemic. Lewandowski is from Poland and is one of the most popular athletes on TikTok.

#8. Gareth Bale

Team: Real Madrid

Total Earnings: $29 million

Salary: $23 million

Endorsements: $6 million

Gareth Bale has been involved in an ongoing argument with his team's manager, Zinedine Zidane that has resulted in less playing time. He only played in two of Real Madrid's 11 La Liga matches and he was not included on the roster of the Champions League squad in August.

#7. Antoine Griezmann

Team: Barcelona

Total Earnings: $33 million

Salary: $28 million

Endorsements: $5 million

Antoine Griezmann is an avid gamer who launched Grizi Esports in January so he could compete in FIFA and Fortnite among other games. He's also a big fan of the Brooklyn Nets.

#6. Paul Pogba

Team: Manchester United

Total Earnings: $34 million

Salary: $28 million

Endorsements: $6 million

Pogba's contract expires in the summer of 2021, however, Man United does have the option to extend it for another year. In August, he took to social media to reveal that he had signed with a team called Verdansk FC. That turned out to be a P.R. stunt for video game maker Activision and it's game Call of Duty: Warzone, Season 5.

#5. Mohamed Salah

Team: Liverpool

Total Earnings: $37 million

Salary: $24 million

Endorsements: $13 million

Mohamed Salah was an integral part of helping his team win its first Premier League title in three decades in 2019-20. He also teamed up with his sponsor Vodaphone as an ambassador for a UN program to bring digital learning programs to refugees from Egypt, where he is from.

#4. Kylian Mbappe

Team: Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $42 million

Salary: $28 million

Endorsements: $14 million

Kylian Mbappe is a player on the rise. It would not be a shock if he became as famous as Ronaldo and Messi in a few years. He won the Ligue 1 Golden Boot two years in a row. The award honors the player with the most goals. He tested positive for Covid-19, causing him to miss his league's season opener. Fortunately, he was asymptomatic.

#3. Neymar, Jr.

Team: Paris Saint-Germain

Total Earnings: $96 million

Salary: $78 million

Endorsements: $18 million

Neymar moved from Barcelona, where he had to share the spotlight with Lionel Messi, to Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017. The move quadrupled his salary. This summer Nike ended its sponsorship of him and he signed with Puma.

#2. Cristiano Ronaldo

Team: Juventus

Total Earnings: $117 million

Salary: $70 million

Endorsements: $47 million

Cristiano Ronaldo has 457 million followers on social media, making him the most popular athlete in the world. He has a lifetime sponsorship with Nike as well as Herbalife, Clear shampoo, and his CR7 branded clothing line.

#1. Lionel Messi

Team: Barcelona

Total Earnings: $126 million

Salary: $92 million

Endorsements: $34 million

Lionel Messi has been with Barcelona for 16 years and in that time he's helped the team with 34 trophies. This year, he attempted to get out of the last year of his contract without success. Now, everyone is wondering which team will sign Messi for next season – and how much will the team have to pay to get him?

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