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Top 5 Highest Paid Football Players In The World

Forbes has recently named nine footballers stars among the top 100 world highest paid sportsmen.  Lionel Messi’s 2017 Barcelona contract deal of $667,000 per-week and several winning bonuses made him the most paid football player in 2018.

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Out of the top 100 highest paid athletes, as rated by Forbes in 2018, forty of them are basketball players, while football is only represented by nine players on the list.

American boxer, Floyd Mayweather climbed to the top of Forbes athletes after his 2017 victory against Conor McGregor in Las Vegas. The widely acclaimed fight raked in a whopping $550 million in revenue, with Mayweather earning a mouthwatering $275m in just one fight!

Lionel Messi finally toppled his arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo on the Forbes list for the first time in his career. The former Real Madrid star was named as the most paid athletes in 2016 and 2017 but dropped to third due to Messi’s improved contract at Barcelona.

Below are the top 5 most paid football players in 2018;

1.  Lionel Messi (Barcelona) – $111m

Yearly Wages & Bonuses: $84 Million

Endorsement: $27 Million

Messi’ s $111M per year earning makes him highest paid footballer in 2018. The 5 time Ballon d’Or winner earned over $50M (Salary & Bonuses) in 2017 but climbed above Cristiano Ronaldo after he signed $667,000 weekly contract deal with Barcelona till 2021 capping his release clause at $835M.  The Argentine forward has so far won 32 trophies with Catalan giants.  The 31-year-old Barca captain also boasts of huge endorsement earnings from Adidas, Gillette, Pepsi, Huawei and Turkish Airline.

2.  Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) – $108m

Yearly Wages & Bonuses: $61 Million

Endorsement: $47 Million

CR7 before his departure from Real Madrid earns at least $108m on his salary and endorsement annually. The Portuguese captain had accepted a wage cut in order to facilitate a move to Turin.

The 5-time Ballon d’Or winner is being reported to earn around $35M per year at with the Turin giants.  Ronaldo’s endorsement deals from the likes of Nike, PanzerGlass, Herbalife, Smaaash Entertainment etc.  have capped his salary shortfall as the CR7 brand alone influences hundreds of millions of people around the world.

3. Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior. (PSG) – $90m

Yearly Wages & Bonuses: $73 Million

Endorsement: $17 Million

Before Lionel Messi signed an improved contract extension deal in 2017, Neymar Junior’s  $263m mega-money move to PSG saw him become the most paid football player in the world.

The Brazilian superstar currently earns an annual wage $43M with expected winning bonuses which could be as high as $30m.  Neymar’s $17m endorsement earnings come from brands like Nike, McDonald’s, TCL; a Chinese electronics brand, Gillette, Red Bull, Beat by Dre, Gol Airlines, Café Pillao etc.

4. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) – $34.6m

Yearly Wages & Bonuses: $28.6 Million

Endorsement: $6 Million

Bale is the most expensive British footballer in history, having left Tottenham Hotspur to pen a $115m move to Real Madrid in 2013. The Welsh winger was a pivotal member of the Galacticos team that conquered Europe in three consecutive years.

Since arrival to the Bernabeu, the 28-year-old forward has won eleven laurels with the Spanish giant.  Bale renewed his contract in 2016, a move that made him the second highest earner in Madrid.

The former Spurs player scored a winning brace against Liverpool at the 2018 UEFA Champions League final to give the Galacticos their 13th Champions League crown.

 5. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) – $29.5M

Yearly Wages & Bonuses: $25 Million

Endorsement: $4.5 Million

Popularly known for the stylish hairstyles, Pogba returned to Old Trafford as Manchester United’s record signing in 2016, having left Juventus to United in a $120m deal. He has since helped the Red Devils to the FA Cup and the Europa League title in 2017.

The French Midfielder currently earns $20m per every year, with annual bonuses increasing his take-home pay to $25m.  Pogba’s major sponsorship deal is from Adidas as he is currently tied in a 10-year contract worth over $40m with the sportswear manufacturing company.


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