Football is, without a doubt, one of the wealthiest sports in the world. Played in more than 200 countries, watched by billions around the globe, the game of football is a carnival in itself. Footballers are worshipped like Gods in European and South American countries. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that footballers are amongst the wealthiest athletes in the world. And not only do they earn millions on the field but also off it due to brand endorsements and investments in various businesses. Here are the 25 richest football players around the globe:
PS: By the time you end up reading this article, most of these footballers will have earned a few more millions
25. Rio Ferdinand ($75m)
Former England and Manchester United centre-back was one of the best in the business. Ferdinand was a part of Alex Ferguson’s legendary side which won the Champions League in 2008. The defender retired from the game in 2015, and after an unsuccessful attempt to become a professional boxer, he has now turned to punditry. Ferdinand is one of the most famous figures in English and European football when it comes to pre and post-match coverage at BT Sports. He also runs a YouTube channel of his own named FIVE, where he interviews the legends of the game. Thanks to his post retirements activities, the 40-year old has the net worth of $75m.
24. Willian ($75m)
The Brazilian winger made a name for himself at Chelsea, linking up with Eden Hazard to win two Premier League titles. After Belgian’s departure, Willian is set to become one of the highest-paid footballers for the Blues. The winger is reportedly working on a contract extension with the Londoners to improve on his current $29m per year deal. Thanks to his salary at Chelsea and brand endorsements and not to forget, a brand of his own, which he recently launched, Willian’s reported net worth is around $75m.
23. Sergio Aguero ($80m)
One of the finest modern-day strikers and already a Premier League legend, Sergio Aguero’s net worth is estimated to be around $80m. The Manchester City striker has won the Premier League four times and has scored 164 EPL goals, sixth highest in the league history. Aguero has also scored 40 goals for Argentina in 96 caps. Along with that, the striker is one of the top players to endorse Puma.
22. Arjen Robben ($80m)
The recently retired Dutch footballer Arjen Robben is without a doubt one of the best wingers of the game. Robben’s trademark shot, where he cuts inside from the right-wing, shifts the ball on his left foot to curl the ball in the top corner will go down in history as one of the most iconic shots in football. The winger played at Chelsea and Real Madrid before spending 10 years at Bayern Munich and eventually retiring as the Bavarian legend. Robben was also a crucial part of the Netherlands squad at the 2010 World Cup which made it to the final of the tournament. Thanks to his popularity in both Germany and Netherlands, the 35-year old’s reported net worth is $80m.
21. Sergio Ramos ($80m)
Not the most favourite footballer unless you are a Real Madrid fan, Sergio Ramos has won everything there is to be won in football. The defender is a World Cup and Euro winner with Spain, La Liga and 4-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid. And being at the top for more than a decade, Ramos is considered as one of the best centre-backs of all time. The Spaniard’s net worth is estimated to be $80m as well. An Amazon Special documentary about Sergio Ramos’s life is set to release in September.
20. Andres Iniesta ($86m)
The legendary midfielder, scorer of the World Cup-winning goal but above all, a down to earth player, Andres Iniesta is one player that you simply cannot hate. After spending more than two decades with Barcelona and winning everything there was to win, Iniesta moved to China last year to play for Vissel Kobe. Along with the whopping salary from the Chinese club, Iniesta has been part of many Nike ads for years and has a Wine brand of his own – helping him take his net worth to $86m.
19. Fernando Torres ($90m)
Another Spanish legend, World Cup winner who recently moved to Asia in the twilight of his career. Fernando Torres, who has played for Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea, and AC Milan is now a part of Sagan Tosu, a Japanese club. Along with a successful football career, Torres also has a chain of gyms of restaurants in Spain, taking his net worth to estimated $90m.
18. Ronaldinho ($90m)
The man loved by all – Ronaldinho is the retired Brazilian footballer. With his smile and mind-boggling football skills, the Brazilian became one of the most famous names in the football world. The World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner has played for several clubs throughout his career with Barcelona and AC Milan being the most notable of them. Despite his retirement, the Brazilian continues to be a famous name amongst brands, which has helped him get to an estimated net worth of $90m.
17. Didier Drogba ($90m)
A Chelsea legend and the all-time top scorer of Ivory Coast, Didier Drogba was one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He played a crucial role in Chelsea’s four Premier League titles and the first-ever Champions League triumph. The former striker is one of the icons of African football and continues to draw a crowd wherever he goes. Drogba’s estimated net worth is also $90m.
16. Samuel Eto’o ($95m)
Talk about African icons, eh? Samuel Eto’o, the Champions League winner with Barcelona and Inter Milan is still going strong at the age of 38. The striker played for Qatar FC in the recently concluded season and scored 9 goals in 18 games. Just like Drogba, Eto’o has also worked hard to spread the sport in Africa and is one of the biggest stars of the continent. His estimated net worth is $95m.
15. Eden Hazard ($100m)
The Belgian recently completed his dream move to Real Madrid where he will obviously be one of the highest-paid players. But Hazard, with his performances, was also the highest-paid player at Chelsea. He is one of the biggest stars of Nike and has also featured on FIFA15, FIFA17 and FIFA20’s cover. The 28-year-old winger’s estimated net worth is $100m.
14. Philipp Lahm ($100m)
Germany and Bayern Munich legend, one of the very few players to have never received a red card throughout his career, Philipp Lahm is an example of a gentleman of the game. The defender led Germany to the World Cup title in 2014 and has been part of most of Bayern’s success in the last decade. He retired in 2017 but continues to be a part of various brand endorsements. Lahm’s estimated net worth is also $100m.
13. Pele ($100m)
Arguably the greatest footballer of all time and definitely the best Brazilian ever, Pele became the measuring stick for several top players after scoring more than 1000 goals in his career. Pele is the only player to win the FIFA World Cup thrice and is still famous amongst football fans. The 78-year old’s estimated net worth is $100m.
12. Francesco Totti ($100m)
The warrior of the ‘Roman Empire’ and a real example of loyalty, Francesco Totti also has the net worth of around $100m. The 2006 World Cup winner is considered as one of the best passers of the game. After his retirement at the end of the 2016-17 season, Totti continued at Roma as the club director but resigned after just one season. The legendary midfielder has been a part of various Nike commercials and has also been on the cover of FIFA and PES.
11. Kaka ($105m)
The Ballon d’Or and World Cup winner, Kaka has played for some of the legendary sides in his career. He was a part of Champions League-winning AC Milan side in 2007 and moved to Real Madrid in 2009. The midfielder retired in 2017 but has continued to be famous amongst brands thanks to his good looks and charm. Kaka has also been a part of FIFA’s cover images. The Brazilian’s estimated net worth is $105m.
10. Gareth Bale ($125m)
Those who follow Real Madrid know how much Bale is currently earning without even playing regularly. The Welshman earns $465,000 per week at Real Madrid and is one of the highest-paid footballers in Europe. Bale also earns $9m from various brands endorsements for Adidas, Nissan, Konami. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Bale is therefore happy to see out his contract at Real Madrid if Zidane is reluctant to use him. After all, the winger’s net worth is $125m.
9. Alexandre Pato ($145m)
Former AC Milan forward, Pato was expected to be a next big thing in football. But for one reason or another, the Brazilian failed to make his mark. Despite all that, the forward bagged a lucrative contract with a Chinese club, Tianjin Tianhai, where he spent two years. Pato has now returned to his home country and currently plays for São Paulo. And despite a rather average career, the forward’s estimated net worth is $145m. (We were just as surprised as you are!)
8. Ronaldo Nazário ($150m)
We are talking about the ‘Real’ Ronaldo here. (No offence CR7 fans!) The legendary Brazilian is considered as one of the best strikers of all time. He has won the Ballon d’Or and the World Cup twice in his career. Ronaldo was the poster boy for Nike for most of his career. After his retirement, Ronaldo has invested in the Spanish club Real Valladolid, buying 51% shares for $33.4m. The 42-year old’s estimated net worth is $150m.
7. Wayne Rooney ($160m)
Arguably the best Premier League forward of all time, Wayne Rooney is the second-highest EPL top scorer of all time. The Red Devils legend has won the Premier League five times amongst other silverware. Rooney currently plays for DC United in MLS where he earns $300,000 per week. The 33-year old also has a deal with Nike worth £1m and his net worth is $160m.
6. Neymar Jr. ($185m)
Ahh, how could he not be in this list? The Brazilian superstar of the modern era, the poster boy for the millennial kids, Neymar Jr’s move from Barcelona to PSG made him one of the highest-earning footballer. The Brazilian winger earns $41m per year as a player, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Neymar has a high demand in the market, being the brand ambassador of Nike, Beats by Dre, Gillette and many more brands. He also has a deal with Red Bull which sponsors the famous Neymar Jr’s Five Competition. In all, the Brazilian’s estimated net worth is $185m.
5. Zlatan Ibrahimović ($190m)
Dare to Zlatan! The Swedish superstar, who has played for numerous clubs, including Barcelona, PSG, Juventus, Inter Milan, and Manchester United is still going strong at LA Galaxy at the age of 37. With his charisma and carefree attitude, Zlatan has attracted several brands. He is a brand ambassador for Nike, Volvo Cars, Microsoft Xbox, and many more. The striker has also launched his own perfume brand and ‘A-Z Sportswear’. Zlatan’s estimated net worth is $190m.
4. Dave Whelan ($220m)
Not the most famous name in this list, Dave Whelan is a former Blackburn Rovers and Crewe Alexandra player. A full-back during his playing days, Whelan became the owner of Wigan Athletic FC in 1995. Along with that, the 82-year old is also the owner of JJB Sports and DW Sports Fitness, making him the fourth richest footballer with the estimated net worth of $220m.
3. Lionel Messi ($400m)
Lionel Freaking Messi! After 5 Ballon d’Or, 4 Champions League titles and countless silverware, it should come as a no surprise that Messi is the one of the richest footballer in the world with the estimated net worth of $400m. Barcelona forward earns $44m per year from the Catalan club. The Argentine is also a famous name for brands, being the biggest star of Adidas, Gillette, Gatorade, Pepsi, Huawei, Lays and many more. Messi reportedly earns $40m from brand endorsements.
2. David Beckham ($450m)
How do you stay at the top of the mountain, even six years after retirement? Create a brand like David Beckham! The most famous footballer in the United Kingdom, Beckham was one of the finest midfielders of the game during his playing career. He has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid, PSG, AC Milan, and LA Galaxy. But even after his retirement, Beckham has stayed at the top with various investments. The Englishman has opened David Beckham Academy and is also the owner of Inter Miami FC in MLS and Salford City. Beckham’s estimated net worth is $450m.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo ($450m)
The beast on and off the field, Cristiano Ronaldo is the richest footballer in the world at the moment at $450m net worth and growing! CR7 earns $30m at Juventus, which is a step down from his time at Real Madrid. But the Portuguese more than makes up for it with his off-field endeavours. The CR7 brand is one of the biggest brands in clothing, perfumes and also has hotels in several big cities around the globe. Ronaldo has also signed a reported lifetime contract with Nike, worth $1b – Yes ONE BILLION!
Now you know about the wealthiest footballers, but what about Cricket?
Here is the list of Top 10 Richest Cricketers in the World