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World’s Highest-Paid Football Players 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese professional soccer player has taken the top spot by dethroning Lionel Messi this year to emerge as the highest-paid footballer.

Forbes has released a list of the top 10 highest-paid footballers and according to the report, these players have collected approximately earnings of $585 million in pre-tax this season compared to $570 million in the previous year.

As most professional football clubs are exercising caution due to challenges around deadly coronavirus, salary and bonus is up just 2.6% year on year that constitutes a major amount of 415 million dollars and the rest of the earnings is through product endorsements.

World’s Highest-Paid Soccer Players 2021, Cristiano Ronaldo Dethrones Lionel Messi

Both Ronaldo and Messi earn lion’s share of 40% of total earning that is equal to $235 million this season. Ronaldo has just announced one day before that he is joining England’s Manchester United while Messi has joined PSG (Paris Saint-Germain) leaving Barcelona just a few weeks back.

PSG, Paris based professional football club has the other two highest-paid players as well that includes the 29-year-old Neymar and 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe who are at rank 3 and 4 respectively.

World’s Highest-Paid Football Players 2021

Forbes has compiled a list of highest-paid footballers and all the numbers mentioned are converted to USD based on the latest exchange rate that includes salaries (pretax), bonuses, and endorsements except transfer fees.

Rank Name Total Earnings (In $)
1 Cristiano Ronaldo 125 Million
2 Lionel Messi 110 Million
3 Neymar 95 Million
4 Kylian Mbappe 43 Million
5 Mohamed Salah 41 Million
6 Robert Lewandowski 35 Million
7 Andres Iniesta 35 Million
8 Paul Pogba 34 Million
9 Gareth Bale 32 Million
10 Eden Hazard 29 Million


1. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo is not only the highest-paid footballer this year but also the world’s richest soccer player with a net worth of more than one billion. He is very active on social media with a huge fan following of more than 500 million followers across Instagram (347 million), Facebook (149 million), and Twitter (94.3 million).

He is recognized worldwide for being one of the most generous people and footballers of all time. Ronaldo holds the record for scoring the most goals in the history of Real Madrid.

Ronaldo who scored the top goal last season with Juventus announced that he is coming back to Manchester United where he played for 6 years from 2003 to 2009 and scored 118 goals in 292 games. He has won many awards in his 18-year-old football career and registered many records on his name that seems to be tough to break for other players.

2. Lionel Messi

Messi was associated with Barcelona for almost 21 years and because of La Liga’s financial obstacles, he would not continue with the club. Messi who was the richest player last year is ranked second this year. He scored 672 goals, won 35 titles and 78 awards.

In his professional career, he earned 875 million dollars in salary and bonus as well as around $350 million from different product endorsements. His salary at PSG is more or less the same as what he was getting at Barcelona. He will reunite with his old teammate Neymar where they both played together for 4 years from 2013 to 2017.

3. Neymar

Neymar, the 29-year-old soccer player is the world’s third-richest player who played a key role in taking Barcelona to its first Champions League final last year. He has recently signed a contract extension for another 4 years to stay in the French capital.

He is one of the most popular athletes on social media with a huge fan following of 284 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. He ended his endorsement prematurely with Nike and signed a deal with Puma.

4. Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe, the 22-year-old Frenchman ranks fourth in the list of the world’s highest-paid football players. Mbappe has not extended his current contract with PSG that will end next year, so the 2021-22 season will be his last series with PSG.

Mbappe at this young age has scored more career goals compared to Ronaldo or Messi had at his age. He is indeed making more money as well than they were at his age. He got Solo cover of  FIFA 21 by EA Sports in 2020 and it is expected that he will be the face of FIFA 22 as well.

5. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah, a 29-year-old Egyptian soccer player is in negotiations with Liverpool for his contract extension that will end in a couple of years from now. There is not an iota of doubt about the skills of this star striker.

He is the top goal scorer among Liverpool and the Premier League ever since he joined in 2017. He is an inspiration for many Muslim athletes in the game as it was observed that after Salah joined Liverpool there was a decrease of 16% in hate crimes in the city.

6. Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski, the 33-year-old Polish footballer is the world’s sixth-richest soccer player who has scored 13 straight home matches this month.

His performance both on & off the pitch is really great as he has launched RL9 clothing brand recently that will add more dollars to his kitty of product endorsement earnings from companies like Nike, Huawei, and more.

7. Andres Iniesta

Andres Iniesta, a Spanish footballer, ranked seventh in our list who spent 22 years with Barcelona has moved to Japan in 2018.

The midfielder ensured victory for the club in the Emperor’s Cup in 2019 and also won the Japanese Super Cup last year in the month of February. He has signed a contract extension till 2023 with J1 League club Vissel Kobe on his 37th birthday.

8. Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba is the world’s eighth highest-paid footballer whose future at Manchester United was not certain recently. However, there are unconfirmed reports stating that he is looking forward to extending his contract.

The 28-year-old has a ten-year shoe contract with German sports major Adidas that is estimated to be worth $45 million.

9. Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale, a Welsh professional footballer has returned back to the Real Madrid club who was sent to Tottenham in the last season owing to differences with his manager Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane has resigned at the end of the 2020-21 season as the team has failed to win matches. Bale is active on the social media platform Instagram with over 35 million followers and it is estimated that he earns $185,000 per sponsored post that makes him the second-highest-paid Briton after David Beckham.

10. Eden Hazard

Last but not the least, the 30-year old Eden Hazard of the Real Madrid team takes the tenth spot in the list of the world’s most expensive football players with total earnings of $29 Million. He is the face of McDonald’s in Belgium. He is also tied to Nike and Nissan.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article. Share your thoughts in our comments section below!

Archana Kabra
Archana Kabra is a Freelance Writer and has been extensively writing stuff related to Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Technology. She is also an ardent music lover. Twitter handle: @archana153sarda


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