Footballers are certainly amongst the highest-paid athletes in the world with a good number of them commanding staggering salaries. In this article, we will review the top ten richest footballers in the world in 2023.
Football as we know it is one of the most lucrative sports in the world.
The beautiful game which is played in more than 200 countries worldwide is one of the most watched sports on the planet and has seen a host of football players across the globe achieve fame and fortune with a select number of superstars racking home millions of dollars yearly.
Top 10 Richest footballers in the world (2023)
10. Alexandre Pato (Net Worth) - $150 million
Alexandre Pato is a 33-year-old Brazilian professional footballer who last played as a striker for MLS club Orlando City.
The talented Brazilian played for clubs like Internacional, Corinthians, Chelsea, Villareal, and AC Milan.
A report by the reveals that Pato grew his wealth through various investments ranging from CoverGirl Cosmetics endorsements, real estate, a chain of restaurants, a vodka line, a fashion line as well as others.
As of August 2023, Alexandre Pato’s net worth is estimated at $150 million, making him the 10th richest footballer in the world.
9. Ronaldo (Net Worth) - $160 million
Ronaldo or Ronaldo Nazário, is a Brazilian business owner and president of La Liga club Real Valladolid, owner of Brasileiro Série A club Cruzeiro, and a former professional footballer who played as a striker for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan as well as other clubs.
Nicknamed O Fenômeno ('The Phenomenon') and R9, he is widely considered one of the greatest players of all time.
His individual accolades include being named FIFA World Player of the Year three times and winning two Ballon d'Or awards.
How does Ronaldo spend his money? Ronaldo has accumulated an impressive collection of cars and real estate with his outstanding net worth and earning capacity.
The 46-year-old Brazilian legend owns some of the most expensive cars in the world, including several Bugatti, a Maserati, and a Lamborghini Aventador.
Ronaldo’s Brazilian home includes many bedrooms, a large swimming pool, and an extensive garden for practicing sports and hosting parties.
Ronaldo has also been sponsored by sportswear company Nike since the early part of his career, appearing in a series of Nike commercials since 1996.
As of August 2023, net worth is estimated at $160 million, making him the 9th richest footballer in the world.
8. Wayne Rooney (Net Worth) - $170 million
According to the 2012 France Football survey of the world’s best-paid players, Rooney is ranked fifth in the world and No.1 in England.
Rooney has played much of his career as a forward, and he has also been used in various midfield roles.
The 37-year-old Englishman is the record goalscorer for the England national team, and for Manchester United.
Rooney now manages MLS club D.C United, having coached Championship club Derby County.
Rooney has endorsement deals with Nike, Nokia, Ford, Asda, and Coca-Cola. He appeared on seven consecutive UK-version covers of Electronic Arts' FIFA video game series from FIFA 06 to FIFA 12.
As of August 2023, Wayne Rooney’s net worth is approximately $170 Million, making him one of the richest soccer players in the world.
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7. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Net Worth) - $190 million
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a Swedish footballer of Bosnian and Croatian descent.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest strikers of his generation, the 41-year-old Swede currently plays for Serie A champions AC Milan.
Ibrahimović is renowned for his acrobatic strikes and volleys, powerful long-range shots, and excellent technique and ball control.
He has scored over 570 career goals, including more than 500 club goals, and has scored in each of the last four decades, while making appearances for Malmo, Ajax, AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United, and LA Galaxy.
In November 2019, it was announced that Ibrahimović had bought 23.5 percent of the shares in Hammarby IF, a Swedish top flight club from Stockholm.
Ibrahimović is under contract with Nike and features in their television advertising where he has appeared in numerous ads alongside other players endorsed by the company.
He’s also very on social media, Zlatan has over 58 million Instagram followers, the most for a Swede.
As of August 2023, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s net worth is approximately $190 Million, making him the 7th richest soccer player in the world.
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6. Dave Whelan (Net Worth) - $210 million
Dave Whelan began his career in the English football league and then retired to open a series of supermarkets.
Whelan is the former owner of club Wigan Athletic, having also been the chairman of the club for twenty years, before passing the position over to his grandson, David Sharpe, who eventually passed the ownership over to International Entertainment Corporation.
The 86-year-old Englishman owns a fishing sports store JJB Sports having purchased it in 1977.
Focusing on mainly sporting goods, JJB Sports became a chain of 7 stores by 1980. It is currently ranked as the UK’s second biggest sports retailer.
As of August 2023, Dave Whelan’s net worth is estimated to be $210 Million, making him one of the wealthiest football players of all time.
5. Neymar (Net Worth) - $250 million
Neymar is a Brazilian professional soccer player, and currently one of the most popular and influential soccer players in the world and widely regarded as the one of most naturally gifted players in the world.
The 31-year-old talented playmaker currently plays for Al Hilal, having played for Paris Saint Germain, Santos FC and FC Barcelona with whom he won the treble in 2015.
Neymar finished third for the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2015 and 2017, has been awarded the FIFA Puskás Award, has been named in the FIFA FIFPro World11 twice, the UEFA Team of the Year twice, and the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season three times.
Off the pitch, he ranks among the world's most prominent sportsmen with a following of over 210 million on Instagram, making him the third most followed footballer on the planet.
Neymar has signed many sponsorship deals since his reputation began to grow from the age of 17.
In March 2011, he signed an 11-year contract with American sportswear company Nike, which ended in August 2020 after a Nike employee made a sexual assault complaint against him.
Neymar has since signed with German sportswear company Puma.
In March 2011, Panasonic paid US$2.4 million to secure Neymar's services for two years.
Prior to signing for Barcelona, has also signed other sponsorships from Volkswagen, Tenys Pé Baruel, Lupo, Ambev, Claro, Unilever and Santander. Neymar was featured on the front covers of the video games Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 and Pro Evolution Soccer 2013 on the North American version.
Neymar also features in EA Sports' FIFA video game series, with the trailer for FIFA 18 showing him in his PSG home jersey, appearing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo on the Champions and Ultimate Edition packs for FIFA 19.
He has also appeared in movies like ‘XXX: Return of Xander Cage’ as himself and the popular Netflix crime series ‘Money Heist’ as Monje Joao.
As of August 2023, Neymar Jr.’s net worth is approximately $250 Million, making him the 5th richest footballer in the world.
4. David Beckham (Net Worth) - $450 million
David Robert Joseph Beckham is an English retired professional footballer from London.
He is the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France.
He has played for Manchester United, Preston North End, Real Madrid, Milan, LA Galaxy, Paris Saint-Germain, and the England national team, for which he held the appearance record for an outfield player until 2016.
Beckham is widely considered to be one of the most successful English players of all time.
He retired from professional football at the end of 2013. The following year Beckham bought an MLS expansion team - Inter Miami for $25 million.
Beckham's many endorsement deals make him one of the most influential athletes in the world.
Having worn Adidas football boots from the start of his career, in 2003 he signed a $160 million lifetime contract with Adidas, earning nearly half the money upfront, and will continue to earn percentages of profits on all of his branded Adidas products.
He had a 10-year collaboration with PepsiCo that expired in 2009. In 2021, he became a global ambassador for Italian luxury car brand Maserati.
The 47-year-old Englishman featured in EA Sports' FIFA video game series; he was on the cover for the UK edition of FIFA 98.
In November 2020, EA Sports had an agreement with Beckham to feature him in FIFA 21, in which he would earn £40m from a three-year deal.
During his playing career (which ended in May 2013), Beckham generated an estimated £1 billion in shirt and boot sales. And in 2006, Lloyd's of London insured his legs for £100m, at the time he was playing for Real Madrid.
In June 2020, Beckham became a minority owner of the London-based esports organization Guild Esports.
Beckham also has over 77 million Instagram followers, the most for a person from the UK and the fifth most followed football personality on the planet.
As at August 2023, David Beckham’s net worth is estimated at $450 million.
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Net Worth) - $500 million
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese footballer, and he is arguably the best footballer of all time.
Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Or awards and four European Golden Shoes, the most by a European player.
He has won 32 trophies in his career, including seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, the UEFA European Championship and the UEFA Nations League.
Ronaldo holds the records for most appearances (183), goals (140), and assists (42) in the Champions League, goals in the European Championship (14), international goals (118), and joint-most international appearances (196).
He is also one of the few players to have made over 1,100 professional career appearances, and has scored over 800 official senior career goals for club and country.
The former Real Madrid striker is also the Los Blancos’ all-time top scorer.
In addition to playing professional football, Ronaldo’s net worth has been significantly boosted throughout his career due to a string of endorsement deals and other sponsorships with clothing brands.
He’s put his name to everything from sports clothing and soft drinks, to financial services and video games.
These endorsements have earned Ronaldo large sums of money on an annual basis, earning $110 million in a one-year period from June 2018 to June 2019 alone.
Ronaldo has signed many sponsorship deals for consumer products, including sportswear, football boots; since November 2012, Ronaldo has worn the Nike Mercurial Vapor personalized CR7 edition.
Ronaldo was featured as the cover star of EA Sports' FIFA video game FIFA 18 and was heavily involved in the game's promotion.
His iconic "Sii" goal celebration features in the FIFA series, accompanied with his own voiceover. He was also the face of Pro Evolution Soccer, appearing on the covers of the 2008, 2012 and 2013 editions of the game.
Ronaldo has established a strong online presence. He is undisputedly the most popular sportsperson on social media, racking over 700 million total followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by February 2021, making him the first person to pass half a billion followers.
He is the most-followed person on Facebook (162 million), the most-followed on Instagram (554 million) and the most-followed sportsperson on Twitter (107,9 million), and his sponsors reportedly earned $936 million in media value across his accounts between June 2016 to June 2017.
Ronaldo has also released two mobile apps, launching an iPhone game called Heads Up with Cristiano in 2011, created by developer RockLive,while also launching Viva Ronaldo (a dedicated social networking website and app) in December 2013.
Ronaldo opened a fashion boutique under the name CR7 (his initials and shirt number) on the island of Madeira in 2006 and opened a second in Lisbon in 2008
In partnership with Scandinavian manufacturer JBS Textile Group and the New York fashion designer Richard Chai, Ronaldo co-designed a range of underwear and sock line, released in November 2013.
He then expanded his CR7 fashion brand by launching a line of premium shirts and shoes in July 2014.
In September 2015, Ronaldo released his own fragrance, "Legacy", in a partnership with Eden Parfums.
Demand for a replica Ronaldo shirt has been high throughout his career.
In 2008, Ronaldo's number 7 Manchester United shirt was the best-selling Premier League sports product.
In 2015, Ronaldo's number 7 Real Madrid shirt was the second best-selling worldwide, after Messi's number 10 Barcelona shirt.
And in 2018, within 24 hours of his number 7 Juventus shirt being released, over 520,000 had been sold, with $62.4 million generated in one day.
Ronaldo is also a keen collector of some of the most expensive luxury automobiles in the world, with a Lamborghini Aventador and Rolls-Royce in his collection.
He owns a variety of real estate, from an apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan to a luxury villa in La Finca worth $6.2 million.
He’s a proud owner of a collection of the most expensive watches you can buy, he’s been spotted wearing a Hublot Masterpiece MP-09 Tourbillon Bi-Axis worth $1.2 million.
He’s also been recently spotted rocking a ‘Caviar Flying Tourbillon’ watch covered with 388 gemstones and worth £630,000.
As of August 2023, Cristiano Ronaldo’s net worth is estimated at $500 million, making him the 3rd richest footballer in the world.
2. Lionel Messi (Net Worth) - $600 million
Lionel Messi is an Argentinian footballer widely regarded as the the greatest player of the modern football age.
He is known for his goal-scoring records and his immaculate ability to dribble the ball past opponents.
The 36-year-old playmaker currently represents Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise club Inter Miami where he is the captain.
Messi has won a record seven Ballon d'Or awards, a record six European Golden Shoes, and in 2020 was named to the Ballon d'Or Dream Team.
Before his controversial exit in 2021, he had spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he won a club-record 35 trophies, including 10 La Liga titles, seven Copa del Rey titles and four UEFA Champions Leagues.
With the Argentina national team, he won the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Messi holds the records for most goals in La Liga (474), most hat-tricks in La Liga (36) and the UEFA Champions League (eight), and most assists in La Liga (192) and the Copa América (17).
He also has the most international goals by a South American male footballer(98).
Messi has scored over 800 senior career goals for club and country and has the most goals by a player for a single club (672).
Outside of football, Messi enjoys living a relatively private life.
A Ferrari F430 Spider, a Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, and an Audi R8 Spyder, all worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are amongst his collection of automobiles.
He is rumored to have bought the most expensive car ever, a 1957 Ferrari 335 Sport Spider Scaglietti, at auction for $37 million.
Messi’s prime piece of real estate is an old home 16 miles outside Barcelona, in the town of Castelldefels, which has a view of the Catalan mountains.
He also owns a one-zero eco house that is designed and custom-built by Luis Garrido.
Messi has spent $2,000,000 just on renovation for his home.
The Albiceleste captain enjoys traveling by his private jet. The jet includes a kitchen, two bathrooms, and 16 seats that can be folded to beds.
The jet is valued at $15 million, and during the summer, Messi travels around with his family on a yacht which can cost $50,000 per week.
In addition to his hefty salary and bonuses, much of his income derives from endorsements.
Messi’s main sponsor since 2006 is the sportswear company Adidas.
As Barcelona's leading youth prospect, he had been signed with Nike since the age of 14, but transferred to Adidas after they successfully won the claim to his image rights in court.
Over time, Messi established himself as their leading brand endorser, and from 2008, he had a long-running signature collection of Adidas F50 boots.
In 2015, he became the first footballer to receive his own sub-brand of Adidas boots, the Adidas Messi.
At the start of his career, Messi mainly held sponsorship contracts with companies that employ sports-oriented marketing, such as Adidas, Pepsi, and Japanese video game company Konami.
But as from 2010, his marketing appeal widened, due to hisnincreased achievements as a player, leading to long-term endorsement deals with luxury brands Dolce & Gabbana and Audemars Piguet.
Messi is also a global brand ambassador for Gillette, Turkish Airlines, Ooredoo, and Tata Motors, among other companies.
He was the face of Konami's video game series Pro Evolution Soccer, appearing on the covers of PES 2009, PES 2010, PES 2011 and PES 2020.
He subsequently signed with rival company EA Sports to become the face of their video game series FIFA and has since appeared on four consecutive covers from FIFA 13 to FIFA 16.
Messi also has an incredible fanbase on social media.
Messi's Facebook page has over 113 million followers, the second highest for a sportsperson after Cristiano Ronaldo.
He also has over 480 million Instagram followers, the second highest for an individual and sportsperson after Cristiano Ronaldo.
His iconic 2022 FIFA World Cup celebration post from 18 December 2022 is the most liked post on Instagram with over 70 million likes.
In June 2021, Messi signed a five-year deal to become an ambassador for the Hard Rock Cafe brand.
And in May 2022, Messi was unveiled as Saudi Arabia's tourism ambassador.
As of August 2023, Lionel Messi has a net worth of $600 Million dollars, making him the 2nd richest footballer on the planet.
1. Faiq Bolkiah (Net Worth) - $20 billion
Who is the richest footballer in the world in 2023? With a net worth of $20 billion, Faiq Bolkiah is the richest football player in the world among the top ten richest football players in the world in 2023.
Mainly because of his roots, Faiq Bolkiah is the wealthiest footballer on the planet.
Faiq Bolkiah is a professional footballer and the son of Jefri Bolkiah, the Prince of Brunei.
Faiq Bolkiah’s uncle, Hassanal Bolkiah is the Sultan of Brunei, an oil-rich country.
Faiq was born in Los Angeles, California, and is a dual citizen of Brunei and the United States.
As of August 2023, Faiq Bolkiah’s net worth is estimated at $20 billion, making him the number 1 richest footballer in the world.