A Pulse Sports list of the 10 highest paid footballers in the world in 2023.
Becoming a professional footballer is no easy achievement. It requires unique talent, dedication, and hard work but when all of those factors are combined, the rewards can exceed our imaginations.
Salaries in football have risen rapidly in recent years, especially since multinationals and oil states have entered the game as club owners.
Players have also signed lucrative endorsement deals and it is clear that these figures will continue to rise in the coming months and years.
We have compiled a list of the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world for 2023 based on in-depth research combined with the latest figures from Forbes.
Top 10 highest paid footballers in the world
10. Antoine Griezmann (Estimated annual income - $27m)
Antoine Griezmann is one of the highest paid footballers in the world. Currently at Atletico Madrid, on loan from Barcelona for a two-year period, Griezmann is on reported wages of around $27 million a year including endorsements and bonuses.
While both clubs continue to find creative ways to make the loan move permanent, his salary package is not affected at all.
Griezmann was a key member of the French World Cup winning team in 2018 and once again played a pivotal role as France lost out in 2022 World Cup final in Qatar. Griezmann is number 10 on our highest paid footballers in the World.
9. Kevin De Bruyne (Estimated annual income - $29m)
Manchester City’s mercurial Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne comes in at number 9 on our list of highest paid footballers in the world. He earns an estimated $29m a year at the Etihad, including basic wages, bonuses, and endorsements.
De Bruyne has a list of lucrative endorsement deals including Nike, Credit Karma, Wow Hydrate, Veo, Secret Lab and Therabody.
8. Raheem Sterling (Estimated annual income - $29.5m)
England international Raheem Sterling left Manchester City to join Chelsea last summer on reported wages of $365,000 per week.
He also has a long-term endorsement deal with sports giants Puma, as well as several lucrative deals to land a spot in our list of the top 10 highest paid footballers in the world.
7. Andres Iniesta (Estimated annual income - $30m)
Andres Iniesta may not be the same force he once was as he winds down on an illustrious career that has seen him win it all but he remains extremely well-paid.
He left Barcelona in 2018 to join J1 League club Vissel Kobe and things have gone so well for him that he has since signed a huge contract extension with the club.
He is the face of Vissel Kobe even in his advanced years and has several endorsement deals in Asia including big-name Japanese brands like Nissan, Asics and Konami as well as GeneLife,
Iniesta earns $23 million in wages and an additional $7 million in endorsements.
6. Eden Hazard (Estimated annual income - $31.1m)
Eden Hazard has found the going tough since he swapped London for the bright lights of Madrid. His move to the Bernabeu has certainly been a disappointment but his bank account feels no pain.
From a strictly footballing standpoint, sure this has been a bad move but the financial rewards are staggering for a player who hardly features for Real Masrid these days.
Hazard takes home $28.6 million in wages and another $2.5 million in endorsements which makes him the 7th highest paid footballer in the world.
5. Mohamed Salah (Estimate annual income - $39.5m)
Last season, Mohamed Salah won a third Premier League Golden Boot to really underline what a ruthless goalscorer he has become. He is no doubt the best signing of the Jurgen Klopp era.
He signed a lucrative new deal last summer which sees him earn £350,000 ($413,000) per week in wages. Salah also benefits from his global image by taking home a cool $15 million annually by virtue of his endorsement deals.
4. Neymar Jr (Estimated annual income - $91m)
As far as superstar players go, it hardly gets much bigger than Neymar Jr. The PSG and Brazilian star is one of football’s biggest names and by design, one of the highest paid footballers in the world.
Neymar has more than a dozen endorsement deals in Europe, Asia and South America. He earns so much money he was able to splash over $1million worth of crypto on two Bored Ape NFTs in a single day.
He earns a whopping $56 million in wages at Paris Saint-Germain and has a $10 million-a-year deal with Puma.
3. Lionel Messi (Estimated annual income - $110m)
Lionel Messi is one of the greatest footballers to ever play the game and to some people, he is the greatest of all time.
When you are that good, there must be a change in salary status to reflect your ability and Messi earns a truckload of money every year.
The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner earns a reported $65m annually in wages and a further $50m from endorsement deals.
These deals cut across all businesses including wristwatches, fizzy pop, telecoms, sportswear, sports drinks, beer and video games. Now as a world champion, expect Messi to keep raking in the money.
2. Kylian Mbappe (Estimated annual income - $125m)
PSG poster boy Kylian Mbappe signed a lucrative contract last summer to stay in Paris till 2025. The reported terms of that deal are mind blowing.
At just 24, Mbappe has found himself close to the top of the list of highest paid footballers in the world. His new contract at PSG earns him a whopping $105m annually including a further $20m in endorsements.
1 . Cristiano Ronaldo (Estimated annual income - $208m)
Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid footballer in the world in 2023.
Portuguese and footballing legend, Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list of highest paid footballers in the world for 2023.
Ronaldo has been near the top of the list for the past decade but after leaving Manchester United in November under acrimonious circumstances, the Portuguese star moved to Saudi Arabian side Al Nassr.
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